The recent survey in The Grocer on future intentions of independent retailers made interesting though unsurprising reading to those of us in the wholesale sector. While our experience bears out the facts of the story, most of us have a very different conclusion to draw from them.
Far from being despondent that many independents do not see their children succeeding them in the Features > Business, we welcome the new vigour and opportunity this presents. In the 70s, 80s and 90s we saw an influx of new people into independent retailing, many from Asia, and they brought a new vitality to many traditional corner shops, turning them into genuine convenience stores in terms of hours, offering, and participation in the community.
These newcomers to the sector found their hard work enabled them to generate a good standard of living and invest in their children’s education. It is therefore unsurprising that some, though by no means all, of this next generation wish to use their education in areas like medicine, law and banking.
Those people who have fulfilled their objectives through independent retailing will retire and sell their businesses, and we will see a new generation of entrepreneurs. Already we are seeing huge success from new entrants, including Sri Lankans, Turks and east Europeans.
We welcome the constant ability of this sector to offer opportunity to those seeking a rewarding career offering a high standard of living through hard work and commitment.