Bedfordshire retailer Kishor Patel has launched a campaign to get independent retailers and suppliers working more closely together - while raising money for charity at the same time.
The 'Retail Smart' project will see Kishor visit independent stores with industry experts and leading suppliers, offering retailers free advice on category management, human resources, IT, shopfitting and other key issues.
A specially-branded Smart car has been donated to the project, to act as a mascot at open days and other industry events. Suppliers will pay £1,000-£2,000 to have their logos added to the car to help pay for fees and travel costs, and the surplus from the project and any additional fundraising will be donated to the Confectioners' Benevolent Fund. The car will be auctioned for the fund at next year's Candy Ball.
Half a dozen retailers have already requested a visit from Kishor's team, and leading suppliers such as Masterfoods, Country Choice, PayPoint and Muller have expressed an interest in supporting the scheme.
Kishor told C-Store: "I want to bring suppliers closer to retailers, and give independents more of a say in the market. It's a two-way thing - suppliers can help retailers, and retailers can give manufacturers a grass-roots insight into the challenges we face from day to day. Eventually I'd like to set up regional training centres for retailers around the country, and hopefully this will be a step towards that."
l You can follow Kishor's campaign in Convenience Store during the next year. If you are a retailer who would like a visit from the expert team or a supplier who wants to get involved, contact Kishor on or 07801 370432.