Saffron Walden winter scene leads to record-breaking sales at Tourist Information Centre

A CHANCE remark during a conversation is leading to record-breaking sales at Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre in the run up to the hectic festive season.

Duty manager Rachel Thomas mentioned to Megan Ridgewell, a photographer and artist, that she was planning the TIC’s Christmas window display, and that she would like some kind of winter scene as a backdrop.

“This seemed to plant a seed in Megan’s mind, as she went away, and after some thought, picked up her paintbrush for the first time in 20 years!”

“The result was a stunning winter scene of the common in the snow, depicting people enjoying sledging, exercising their dogs, and building snowmen.

“I scarcely had time to hang the picture up in the window before people started to come in, asking if it was for sale. At that time, Megan was undecided as to what she wanted to do with it, but such was the interest, we quickly arranged for prints and Christmas cards of the image to be made.”


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In the veritable snowstorm of sales that has followed, all the Christmas cards have sold out, and the prints, both framed and mounted, are continuing to sell almost as fast as Megan can produce them.

“There is something in the image that is literally stopping customers in their tracks. It is beautifully crafted, of course, as is all of Megan’s work, but it is also to do with how it typifies the best of Saffron Walden life, and how lucky we are to have this great open space, right in the town centre. It is an image which, quite simply, makes people very happy, and we all like that,” added Rachel.

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The TIC is well placed to observe shopping trends in the run-up to Christmas, and is hearing regular comments that people intend using local shops for all of their purchases this year.

“We are seeing more of a culture of thinking about shopping locally, as well as seeing the impact of people cutting back on use of their cars due to rising petrol prices,” says Rachel.

“One thing we’d love to do is to capitalise on this trend by encouraging our great independent shops to use Twitter, so that there is a network of support across the town which, with minimal daily attention, has the potential to reach out far and wide.

“It is a wonderful, free way to keep your existing and future customer base informed of new products, special events, sales.”

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