The Best Small Shops Competition, launched on Independents Day (July 4), is not only celebrating the return of independent retail to UK high streets, but also seeking entries from independents that are demonstrating innovation in combating the impact of Covid-19. The new award category is sponsored by the loyalty, gifting and promotions app booost.
“It is widely recognised just how challenging it has been for many independent retailers during the months of Covid-19 lockdown – those who have had to close their doors, and those considered essential, who were able to trade throughout,” explains Mark Walmsley, chair of the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC.).“The pandemic has not only brought about challenges such as reduced income, but also extensive complexities resulting in the evident need for re-invention.”
He continued: “We have witnessed, and continue to see, extraordinary examples of innovation and ingenuity in being able to adapt a business to continue trading in some form. This is unsurprising, given the agility and commitment of independent retailers to their local communities and, in this extraordinary year, it is something we are determined to recognise and celebrate.”
The annual competition highlights the best of Britain’s independent retail sector, celebrating the commitment and creativity of independent retailers and the central role they play in their local communities.
In 2019, gift shops Mooch Gifts & Home in Bewdley and Stourport on Severn, and Joco Interiors in Nuneaton, were among the competition’s top 25 finalists.
“Despite the challenging retail environment, there is bountiful evidence that people value and believe it is important to support their local independents,” adds Mark. “These shops are at the heart of communities up and down the country, offering a meeting place, not to mention choice, diversity, innovation and genuine customer service.”
The closing date for entries is September 11, with the finalists announced in October.
For more information about the Best Small Shops competition, click HERE.
The IRC is a group of multi-sector trade organisations – to include the Greeting Card Association (GCA) and the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) – representing over 100,000 independent retailers throughout the UK.