'Back in business for keeps' hopes as businesses get set for reopening
"Back in business for keeps” - that is the hope of British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) chiefs as high street shops reopen on April 12.
Bira works with more than 6,000 independent businesses nationwide of all types and sizes.
Chief executive Andrew Goodacre said: “Independent retailers have suffered their worst ever year since March 2020, when the first lockdown in England was implemented.
“Many of them have been closed for eight of the past 12 months, missing out on crucial Christmas and now Easter trade.
“Despite this, they are really looking forward to getting back to business, opening their doors and serving customers.”
As third lockdown restrictions begin to ease, Mr Goodacre said this is the most important time for business owners.
He said: “Now is a real make-or-break situation for many retail businesses. They now need to know two things – that lockdowns are a thing of the past and customers will return to the high street with confidence.
“We know retailers will keep shopping safe and we hope shoppers reciprocate by returning to the shops, particularly their local independent business,” he stressed.
The association is championing the new campaign Buy Unique, Shop Boutique, started by indie fashion wear group Boutiques in Business.
Amanda Slattery, owner of Maya Maya at Kendal in Cumbria, founded BiB.
She said: “During lockdown we all felt helpless while our considered, crafted and well-designed products, often from small independent brands, hung on shelves untouched.
"Mass produced garments meanwhile were flaunted in supermarkets and garden centres, even if people were just popping in for milk, the option for some retail therapy clearly available to them.
“However, as we come towards the end of lockdown, we hope to remind people of this unfairness and ask them to help put us back on the map.”
It is hoped this latest crusade will act as a reminder that our small businesses now need all the support they can get to return to their rightful position on town and city centre high streets.
Mr Goodacre said: “The fashion sector has been particularly hard hit during the pandemic so this campaign could not be more timely.”