Lesley explained how the My Shop Is Your Shop (MSYS) campaign had halted the decline in takings the shop had experienced.
“NIW is a good idea as it will help us get across locally and nationally some serious messages to many sections of society.
“I hope the publicity all this is receiving will inspire other retailers to get involved as we have. It’s pointless worrying about the big four – it’s far more productive spending your time thinking about how community activities can raise your profile and increase your footfall as it has for us.
“I am a member of ACS and the FSB and I sit on the regional council of the BII. All of these organisations do good work but the one thing that can unite all independent stores under one umbrella is MSYS which covers c-stores, newsagents, farm shops, caravan park shops, village shops, butchers and so on. “Together we can find a single voice. With this voice we can raise the profile of their value to the local community and say exclusively ‘we are local and proud of it’.
“It is a positive voice putting forward a value proposition, not a negative voice complaining about the big four – incidentally my customers can also shop at two of them in Barnstaple.
“I get really sad when I hear so much publicity about independent retailers going out of Features > Business, it doesn’t help the rest of us at all. Of course all small businesses face difficulties, but these are not insurmountable.
“We have just finished writing our business plan for the next five years, which we will be reviewing regularly. The MSYS campaign has given us confidence and background support. It has made us realise that we need to package our total product and service offering, together with our friendly service in an organised manner so the public is constantly reminded of the importance of the independent family business.
“We are not a doomed sector of the grocery trade so let’s stop saying we are,” Lesley declared.