The Minister of State For Pensions stepped from her modest car, parked in a freezing wind-blown Doncaster suburb and walked into the Premier store owned by Ram Odreda, independent retailer with a lot on his mind.
Having won the first prize of pound;750 in a My Shop is Your Shop reader competition in Convenience Store magazine, sister publication to ProWholesaler, Ram was rushing here and there to make sure the Minister was made welcome.
Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central, is that Minister. And as busy as she is given the frenzied political climate of the day, she was determined to ensure that her diary accommodated the presentation of the MSYS cheque to Ram.
Executives from Booker Cash Carry arrived to help Ram. Then a delegation from the local school. They would be the beneficiaries of the prize – the cash was to be donated by Ram to help fund the local school play area to make it a local community amenity.
The Minister understood the role of the local shop and its staff who were her electors. The cheque was presented, the local media were informed, Photographs were taken and when the Minister departed her knowledge of the MSYS campaign, its objectives and its practical helpfulness to retailers was enhanced.
She appreciated that MSYS had now constructed unique marketing platforms to sell more product platforms which did not exist before.
MSYS is not a talking shop discussing the issues of the day – it is a mechanism which provides solid assistance to retailers to increase their involvement with the local community as a footfall driving exercise.
In the cold early morning sleet driven in a gale force easterly, the campaign had impacted on Ram and his smiling staff, his customers, his local school head and its children and teachers, the local media and the local MP, who is a senior politician of rank.
Thus MSYS was again scoring a win, making an impact with a positive selling message to the local neighbourhood. Ram’s store is an excellent Premier, professionally managed, laid out, stocked and soon to have the local Post office as part of its offering.
Suppliers commit support
When John Hans, chief commercial officer at Heinz UK and Ireland, walked into the Streatham Hill, South London, store of Steve Robinson, a prize Bestway Best-One outlet, he was put to work immediately.
It was National Independents’ Week (NIW) last year and the local boss of one of the world’s iconic food manufacturers, was determined to express his company’s support for the activity.
Steve Robinson was knocked out by the visit. He was impressed just as John Hans was impressed by the fact that MSYS is not anti-Tesco or anti-anyone but purely focused on the positives of the independent sector.
MSYS works at supplier level. Watch for more of this in the coming months.
Retailers the big influence
Independent c-stores, newsagents and rural shops help to design the MSYS activity. It’s a mistake to think that they only do so by sitting on the FWD PR Action Group, or PRAG as it is known. Those who do make a huge contribution in their stores.
Striking a chord with the massively fragmented independent retailer audience is often an endeavour beyond the talents and money of the biggest brands.
But MSYS now has a following of thousands of retailers who sign up for T-shirt kits and accessories for NIW. And there is a constant buzz of communication between retailers of all types and the campaign administrators.
Many retailers are now planning their NIW 09 programme – the week begins on June 1.
“Local And Proud of It” is the campaign’s yellow T-shirt slogan – words which paint the true picture of the local store where the staff recognize their core values and work to them come what may – and in 2009 an economic squeeze will make MSYS of greater value to the retailer than ever before.
=== WALK SHOP 2009 ===
In February the FWD My Shop is Your Shop campaign will continue to boost its Walk Shop campaign, encouraging consumers to ditch the car and walk to buy their groceries.
It’s the mould-breaking campaign which gives retailers their own personalised window bill showing the average amount of carbon the community does NOT produce by walking to the shop.
Log on to [http://www.myshopisyourshop]
It’s also the campaign which stresses the money savings available from choosing to shop local.
By buying groceries just-in-time to meet daily needs shoppers save money by avoiding throwing away waste food over-bought at the superstores. They also save money through buying less petrol.
=== Join Lesley Bill the Team to Celebrate National Independents Week Monday 1st June – Saturday 6th June 2009 ===
Everyone is Welcome to take part in
the following events
MONDAY: Yeo Valley Woodland Fact Finding Day
(Find out all about what’s happening on your doorstep)
TUESDAY: Frankmarsh’s Youngest Customer Comp (Bring your under 2 along and have their photo taken)
WEDNESDAY: Come along and have a cuppa tea while you shop. (Frankmarsh’s own agony aunt will be on hand to listen to your life story)
THURSDAY: Frankmarsh got Talent. (Have a laugh with us at all the local performers)
FRIDAY: Round the World Wine Tasting with Sue (sample wines from around the world with a talk from Sue)
SATURDAY: Frankmarsh Got Talent The Final (The usual auction will be while the votes are being counted)