Independents' Day 2018 will shine spotlight on small retail
ON Wednesday Retail NI will launch its signature campaign, Independents' Day, which showcases the very best of local independent retailers.
The aim is to rebrand July 4 (traditionally American Independence Day) as an extra special day to encourage consumers to make a particular effort to support their local shops.
Independents' Day is not just another shop local campaign - it is much more. Seventy pence in every pound spent with a local independent retailer is recycled around the local economy, supporting farmers, local producers and town centres.
The campaign is also highlighting the innovation and entrepreneurship of independent retailers. In incredibly difficult times, they have not just survived, but thrived, ensuring that our town centres are not simply clone towns.
Retail NI members, alongside the hospitality sector, are playing a central role in creating new 21st century town and city centres, which are fantastic destinations and above all, fun places to go that people want to revisit time and again. Putting the social into shopping is key to the future of our retail sector.
On July 4 we are making a plea to shoppers to go the extra mile and do as much of their shopping with local independent retailers. We are working on a range of incentives and discounts for consumers to encourage them to do on July 4.
Given that our local councils have the lead role in regenerating our town centres, we urge them to get behind our campaign and look at providing greater animation and discounted car parking in their off street car parks.
Town-based Chambers of Commerce have also a key role ensuring their members play their part on July 4 and give shoppers further discounts.
We have lost too many independent retailers in recent years and Northern Ireland has the highest shop vacancy in the UK of nearly 15 per cent. By coming out and supporting independent retailers on July 4 and beyond you are making the strong statement that you value having local shops.
Retail NI is delighted to be working with Heathrow and Translink in support of this year's Independents' Day. Translink will shortly be announcing discounted bus and train tickets for the special day to ensure shoppers have every opportunity to get out and support their local traders.
Independents' Day is also about supporting local farmers and producers as too. Retail NI members pride themselves in sourcing nearly 100 per cent local meat and poultry and supporting as many local food manufacturers as possible.
In addition to representing wholesalers and retailers, Retail NI has a substantial amount of local suppliers as members and we work hard to support many local new companies get their products into our members' stores.
By supporting Independents' Day you are also doing your bit for the whole local supply chain of Northern Ireland farmers, producers, processors and manufacturers.
From supporting local communities and local shops to town centres and farmers, Independents' Day ticks every box. If you want to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or @retail_ni
:: Glyn Roberts is chief executive of Retail NI