Dunbar’s Belhaven Bikes has been named as a finalist in the UK’s Best Small Shop Competition, a contest run by the the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group and administered by the Independent Retailers Confederation.
Kirkcowan Cycles of Dumfries and Galloway is another bike shop picked out for the list.
Applicants were picked out for Innovation, Community Engagement and Entrepreneurial Activities, with Belhaven Bikes’ submission focusing on their position as the local bike shop at the heart of their community, serving their home town and beyond, offering flexibility, personal service, local contribution and sustainability.
Belhaven Bikes cited examples of innovation such as offering free bike hire during national and local events, such as the John Muir Festival, entrepreneurial activity which included the introduction of new products, skateboards and scooters to their product range and the recent addition of offering customers cycle finance, which starts from 0%.
The proactive Belhaven Bikes supports community engagement through offering local schools with free, bike safety checks in preparation for Bikeability lessons and events such as The Big Pedal, working with theSPACE skatepark in North Berwick organising events and assisting with mechanical back-up at Berwick Wheelers and Tweed Tri cycle events.
The Best Small Shops Judging Panel commented: "We were impressed and delighted by both the number and calibre of the submissions from retailers for the Award. We were humbled by their energy, impressed by their commitment and in awe of the extent to which the best are embedded in their communities. There is no doubt that independent retail is in the hands of creative, innovative, business-savvy individuals who are committed to making their local high street a better place.”
Colin Cairns Ford (pictured), of Belhaven Bikes, added: “We are very proud and absolutely delighted to be a finalist in the UK’s Best Small Shop competition! Many thanks to all our customers, whose support we value so much.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops’ Group said: “Small shops really are the backbone of Britain, providing essential services for local people. There are many great qualities that small shops bring to our high streets. The innovation that small shops bring is really inspiring and is a key part of their ability to compete. Smaller retailers are often hugely influential in their local areas and provide the anchors for communities up and down the country. Small retailers have a connection with their customers that is much more personal and valuable than big chain shops, and I know many people really value this connection. We should also celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that is so typical of small shops in the UK. It takes courage and resilience to go into retail, and I think it is important that politicians recognise and reward this.”
The 20 finalists in the competition, will attend a reception held at the House of Commons in February.