Best Small Shops competition to recognise innovative indie retailers post-Covid

Celebrating the return of independent retail to UK high streets and shopping parades, the IRC has introduced a special category in the annual competition, recognising independents that are demonstrating specific innovation to combat the impact of Covid-19

Written by Georgie Dobie

Posted 06.07.2020 | Retail

Best Small Shops competition to recognise innovative indie retailers post-Covid thumbnail

Innovative indie retailers who adapt their business to combat the impact of Covid-19 are to be recognised in a special category in Britain’s Best Small Shops competition 2020.

The Independent Retailers’ Confederation (IRC), a group of multi-sector trade organisations representing over 100,000 indie retailers throughout the UK, has announced a special category in its search to find Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020. 

The Best Small Shops Competition relaunches post lockdown on Independents’ Day, Saturday 4 July, celebrating the return of Indie Retail to UK high streets and shopping parades. The judges will be seeking entries from independents that are demonstrating specific innovation to combat the impact of Covid-19 in a new award category sponsored by booost, the loyalty, gifting and promotions app. 

Mark Walmsley, chair of the IRC, says: “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. The pandemic has not only brought about challenges such as reduced income but also extensive complexities resulting in the evident need for re-invention. 

“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. Previous winners have included Bristol-based delicatessen Papadeli, the 2019 winner, and The Mainstreet Trading Company, a combined bookshop, café, deli & homeware shop based in St Boswells, in the rural Scottish Borders, which won in 2018. 

“Despite the challenging retail environment, there is bountiful evidence that people value and believe it is important to support their local independent retailers,” adds Walmsley. “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.” 

Entries for all award categories in this year’s competition close on 11 September. 

Retailers are also encouraged to add themselves free of charge to ‘We Are Open’, the IRC’s online map and directory of independent shops. Consumers can simply enter their postcode to discover independent retailers open in their area or use the online search function to find the best place locally to buy the products they need today. Retailers can add themselves to the directory now at: weareopen.uk/register.

For more information about the Best Small Shops competition, click here


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