The first ever National Independents’ Week, the new centrepiece of the FWD My Shop Is Your Shop campaign, saw thousands of local shops throughout the country celebrating the event.

The message to the consumer was clear. The independent retailer is Local And Proud Of It – the message printed boldly on the striking yellow T-shirts – and is involved with the local community as a focal point of the neighbourhood.

Independents organised street parties, fun days and special events to mark NIW, which replaced the former one-day event. The unique value to the community of the retailer “living over the shop” comes from sharing the ups and downs of the local community, supporting local activities, looking out for the elderly and vulnerable and so on.

Supportive suppliers and wholesalers visited independent customers providing sample products and gifts and helping out in the shop.

MSYS chairman Alan Toft (pictured) said that the week achieved serious critical mass for the campaign for the first time since it was launched in 2004.

“The objective of MSYS and NIW is to remind the consumer of the unique contribution and value to the community of the independent retailer who is not answerable to a distant corporate head office. Playback I have received from retailers demonstrates that MSYS is working for them.”

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