Singer and now author Frankie Bridge has helped launch the search to find the UK’s Best Small Shop of 2020.
Visiting independent bookshop Linghams in Heswall, the Wirral, Frankie, whose new book Open: Why Asking For Help Can Save Your Life is now available at booksellers across the UK, kickstarted this year’s competition for which entries are now open.
The annual Best Small Shops Competition, which culminates in a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament, highlights the best of Britain’s independent retail sector, celebrating the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities. It is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC).
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.
To enter, shops must be an independent retailer, defined as a non-corporate business selling goods or services to the public for use or consumption rather than for resale, from a business rated premises in the UK.
Competition entrants will be challenged with promoting the benefits of their retail offering to consumers with part of the selection process being voted on by the general public on the contest’s website.
“Despite the challenging retail environment, there is plenty of evidence that people value and think it is important to support small local businesses and independent retailers,” explains Mark Walmsley, Chairman of the Independent Retailers Confederation.
“These retailers sit at the heart of communities up and down the country, offering a meeting place, not to mention choice, diversity, innovation and genuine customer service. That’s what we are celebrating with these awards. We have a bright and vibrant independent retail sector and it’s important that we put it in the spotlight.”
2019 research by the British Independent Retailers Association (member of the IRC) found that independent retailers opened 4.5% more shops in 2018 than a year earlier, with independents accounting for 64% of all retail and leisure units in Great Britain.