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Britain’s Best Small Shops 2020 adds new category for retailers innovating amid COVID-19

The Independent Retailers’ Confederation, 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 4th July, celebrating the return of Indie Retail to UK high streets and shopping parades. In a new award category for its annual search, judges will be seeking entries from independents that are demonstrating innovation to combat the impact of COVID-19.

“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,” said Mark Walmsley, chair of the 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.

“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 and 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,” added 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 September 11th. For more information about the Best Small Shops competition, click here: bestsmallshops.uk

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