The All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group has launched a competition to find the best small shop in the UK.
The competition, sponsored by PayPoint, is being administered by the Independent Retailers Confederation and is backed by ActSmart and the ACT - founding members and current chair of the IRC.
Applicants have 500 words to set out why they are the best small shop, covering the key criteria areas:
- innovation in your business
- community engagement
- entrepreneurial activity.
More details on the application process at www.bestsmallshops.uk.
A reception will be held in the Palace of Westminster on the 25th February 2015 for the retailers that have been shortlisted, where the overall winner will be announced.
APPSSG Chairman Simon Danczuk MP said: "We are looking for the best small shops in the UK to come forward and tell us the great work they do to serve their communities and create jobs in the economy. Grocers, Delis, Booksellers, Music Shops all have the chance to tell us why they are the best small retailer.
"I am delighted to be holding the Best Small Shop Competition again this year. Small shops really are the backbone of Britain, providing essential services for local people and creating jobs in their communities. I think it is right that Parliament acknowledges the vital role small shops play and seeks to recognise and reward the very best small shops across the country.
"There are many great qualities that small shops bring to our high streets, but there are a few I particularly want to recognise. Firstly the innovation that small shops bring is really inspiring and is a key part of their ability to compete. This innovation is a driving force behind the success not only of small shops but of the wider economy with new practices pioneered by small shops leading to jobs and growth.
"Secondly 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. Not only this, but there are countless examples of small retailers contributing to local projects, or helping out their neighbours on the high street.
"Finally I want to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that is so typical of small shops in the UK. Having set up a shop myself in Rochdale, I know how much effort and determination it takes to make a go of it, and how rewarding it is when your idea takes shape in front of you. It takes courage and resilience to go into retail, and I think it is important that politicians recognise and reward this.
"I can't wait to see all the fantastic small shops from across the country enter themselves for this competition and I look forward to meeting retailers at our reception in February.
May the best small shop win!"
Andrew Goddard, Pay Point Retail Director and competition sponsor, said: "We are pleased to be supporting the Best Small Shops Competition again. It is a great chance to showcase the work that small shops do across the country and how important they are to their local communities."