Record numbers take part in NIW

Midway through the first ever National Independents’ Week (NIW), campaigners claimed that activity had increased tenfold since the launch in 2004 of the sponsoring My Shop Is Your Shop (MSYS) campaign.

A record number of 5,000 NIW in-store theatre packs of T-shirts, caps, stickers and balloons were mailed to independent retailers throughout the UK. This was the total available supply leaving many retailers disappointed.

The highest level of wholesaler and supplier support for MSYS since the launch of the FWD campaign saw managers, staff and sales people working in independent shops throughout the country.

Leading from the top, Parfetts managing director Steve Parfett, Landmark Wholesale marketing director Chris Rose, and Booker Group chief executive Charles Wilson (see right) all visited local stores during the week.

Working to a plan where public relations resources were deployed in regional and local media, radio coverage of the campaign included a 40-minute debate on BBC Radio Warwickshire. Independent retailer Lisa Dundas was among the many who phoned-in to add to the debate.

Radio Oxford, Radio Coventry, and Radio Merseyside were among those to cover the campaign by Wednesday morning with local press coverage of the activity being reported in addition.

First to report a regional press visit to her store was Sarah Lloyd, independent owner of the Budgens store in Northcourt Road, Abingdon. Sarah said: “We are a community based business. We have connection with the local people. Our staff are local and they know the customers by name. It is the essential difference between us and the multiples on which we must build.”

More NIW activity with media links was planned for later in the week including the first ever MSYS street parties – a new innovation for the 2007 campaign.

These included a party on Thursday lunchtime thrown by Purnesh Patel at his Best-One store in east London, and street parties at the weekend organised by Mac and Nimi Patel, Lifestyle Stores in Old Trafford, Andrea Bone, in Selly Oak, Birmingham, Bob Gibson’s KeyStore in the Winklebury area of Basingstoke, and David Bruton’s Top Stores at Hoel Aneurin, Penyhoel, in Caerphilly.

Alan Toft, MSYS chairman, said: “By midweek it was clear that activity on the ground had greatly increased over previous years.

“Our media campaign is targeted towards regional and local press because this is an essentially local story – we are working towards higher recognition of the local independent by the local media and it’s beginning to happen.

“The campaign thanks every wholesaler and supplier who has put in so much effort this year over and above the call of normal duty – it’s been a fantastic leap forward for FWD and the retail audience its members supply.

“In 2008 we will work on the same basic strategy but we are already building the first thoughts for new tactical implementation of this activity.”

l See pages 10 and 22/23 for more coverage of National Independents’ Week

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