NIW’s biggest deployment drives event

My Shop Is Your shop (MSYS) campaigners hailed its centrepiece of National Independents’ Week as the most effective yet with the biggest ever deployment of wholesalers and big brand supplier staff helping retailers in-store.

The first National Cuppa Day was a highlight of the week with hundreds of retailers giving customers a cuppa and a biscuit to demonstrate the friendly link between store and community.

MSYS chairman Alan Toft said: “The week was living poof that the campaign has created and established a positive promotional and marketing platform supporting independents which simply did not exist before. We now have a solid base for future development.”

He estimated that a combined ‘NIW strike force’ of more than 2,000 executives and staff from suppliers and wholesalers was mobilised to support the independent retailer – a feat never achieved before.

Toft told ProWholesaler: “It’s too early to evaluate the total impact of NIW and we will be doing this in the next weeks. Slowly but surely we are persuading the industry that the only unique selling point in the armoury of the independent retailer is embraced in MSYS.

“As successful and as powerful as the Big Four are and will continue to be, they will never be able to replace the unique link between the retailer who runs their own business – and often lives over the shop – and their neighbourhood.”

Launched by the FWD in the absence of a PR and marketing campaign for independents, MSYS is now in its fifth year.

For the first time the iconic yellow ‘Local And proud of it’ T-shirts created by MSYS had to be rationed to meet retailer demand – late requests were met with only one T-shirt and one cap as the supply of 5,000 ran out.

Booker sales staff were out in force working in customers’ shops and putting on special events in-depot, as were managers and staff from Landmark Wholesale members, Bestway and Batleys, Best-One, Parfetts, Londis, Sugro, Today’s and Costco.

Martin Williams, managing director of Landmark Wholesale, spent a day at Doal Food News in Staffordshire to help owners Geeta and Charanjit Doal. He said: “Only by coming out from behind your desks and spending time with the retailers can you fully appreciate the valuable role that they play within their local communities.”

Imperial Tobacco, Heinz, Walkers, CCE, Nestle UK, Buxton Water, GSK, Unilever and Coors were among suppliers supporting the week with special activity in-store. CCE had 300 sales people helping in retail shops and the Nestl eacute; field force of 200 wore the yellow T-shirt and ‘talked up’ the week in cash and carries and shops.

Chief commercial officer for Heinz UK Ireland, John Hans, showed the company’s support for the wholesale/independent sector by donning the T-shirt and visiting Best-one owner Steven Robinson in Amesbury Avenue, Streatham Hill, south London, to help with the early morning shift in the shop.

“Independents such as Steven play a vital role in supplying and supporting their local communities. Heinz is delighted to be taking part in NIW and is committed to helping retailers in this channel to maximise their profits by providing great products and NPD that creates value for their shoppers,” said Hans.

The Daily Mirror gave the campaign a boost with a free box on its May 30 front page alerting readers to the campaign and the four-page special inside carrying stories of successful community independents and money-off coupons worth a total of pound;3.10.

Typical support promoting NIW came from the Booker depot at Tunbridge Wells where all the staff wore the T-shirt and encouraged retailers to adopt the principles of MSYS for their own business.

John Maxwell Jones, a retailer from Goudhurst, Kent, was featured in a BBC South East TV news programme highlighting the importance of the independent village shop and post office plus the local church. Regional and local papers were in contact with retailers and campaign leaders promoting the week.

As ProWholesaler went to press many retailers were planning fun days and street parties for June 6 and 7. l See pages 10 and 20-21 for more about NIW

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=== Senior manager lends support at Cuppa Day ===

Mike Laney, trade sector manager distributive at Imperial Tobacco, helped out during National Cuppa Day at John and Jenny Mainwood’s Premier store in Seddlescombe, Sussex.

From left: Jenny Mainwood; Colin Tindal, retail development manager at Booker; Gill May, impulse territory manager at Tetley GB, John Mainwood; and Mike Laney.

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