Although the riots were restricted to England I am sure every decent person across the nation has been horrified by the events last week. Apart from a few minor incidents, our sector escaped relatively unscathed, but wholesalers’ customers were on the frontline and bore the brunt of the rioters destruction.
Retailers and caterers had their premises ransacked or burnt out, and it was heartbreaking to hear one retailer explain how he had worked 70-80 hours a week for ten years to build up his business and support his wife and two young children and now he was left with nothing.
The damage is going to require a massive rebuilding programme and already the wholesale industry has swung into action to support affected customers. For some it will be a case of repairing and re-stocking, but for others their businesses will literally have to rebuilt.
Wholesalers and suppliers should aim to not only help these businesses to get back up and running, but to make them even better than they were before. They should provide support and advice to enable these businesses to become state of the art examples of best practice in layout and design and in the service they provide to their communities.
These stores and catering establishments should provide a new hub for their neighbourhoods and become beacons around which new businesses can gather and regenerate their areas.
There was a lot of promising talk at the FWD Annual Conference last month about how wholesalers and suppliers could work together to provide support for independent retailers. Now there is an urgent need for this to be put into practice and an opportunity to establish best practice for years to come.