Retail is a thriving part of our high street - but who's your favourite?

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts (right) and Irish News marketing manager John Brolly launch the Independents' Day 'People Vote' initiative. Photo: Mal McCann
Gary McDonald Business Editor

FROM cheese to chocolates, phones to flowers, shirts to soap-powder, there's an independent retailer for that, and much more, on a vibrant Northern Ireland high street near you . . . .

And if you think your shop or street is the best in the north, whether you're in Bellaghy or Beragh, Strangford or Stranocum, Lurgan or Lisnaskea, then now's the time to let us know.

Retail NI and the Irish News have teamed up to find the favourite local independent retailers in 2019, and today launch a ‘People’s Vote’, giving you your say between now and Independents’ Day on July 4.

Local independent retailers are seen as the heartbeat of the high street. They add colour, vibrancy, choice, spirit and character to our towns and lives. They are the friendly face of shopping – people and places that believe in community and quality.

And from today, people have the opportunity to let those independent traders know just how much they are treasured via this People's Vote.

All you have to do is go to and vote for the local shop that means most to you and your family.

It might be the service, the staff, the produce, the sense of fun and friendship, or maybe all of that and more. But if you value your independent retailers let them know by casting your vote now!

This will be an online vote and include best overall independent retailer and best in category for convenience store, butcher, deli, men's and women's fashion, coffee shop and chemist. The winners will be announced July 4.

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said: “Our Independents’ Day campaign is all about showcasing the very best of our independent retail sector and the huge contribution it makes to our high streets, communities and economy.

“Seventy pence in every pound spent with an independent retailer is reinvested back into the local economy, supporting local jobs, farmers and producers.

“Northern Ireland has world class independent retailers and this year we are asking shoppers to vote for their best local shops.

“We are delighted to partner with the Irish News on this ‘People’s Vote’ and would encourage Northern Ireland shoppers to nominate their overall favourite independent retailer."

Irish News marketing manager John Brolly said: “As a local newspaper the Irish News is delighted to be linking up with Retail NI to promote and celebrate independent local retailers who contribute so much to our local economy and communities.

“We would call on everyone to vote for their favourite local independent retailers as well as your favourite high street at and show your support for retail.”

As American urbanist Jane Jacobs once said, town centres should be places where theatre of life can thrive.

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