This week sees hundreds of convenience retailers proclaiming their unique position in the public's affections in the largest ever celebration of community retailing.

National Independents' Week kicks off today (May 29) with editorial coverage and a page of discount coupons in The Sun, putting the My Shop is Your Shop message and the 'Local and Proud of it' slogan in front of some 7.5 million people.

From Monday, the campaign's distinctive yellow T-shirts will be worn by retailers across the country in a series of community events designed to demonstrate the vital role of the local shop in our neighbourhoods.

They will be joined by senior executives from suppliers, wholesalers and symbol groups who will desert their offices for a day, don their T-shirts and take their place behind the counter of their local store.

The highlight of the week will be Wednesday's National Cuppa Day, which will involve customers being offered a free cup of tea, biscuits and a chat with store staff.

Other events include street parties, talent shows, competitions and sports events, all stressing the store's place at the hub of the community.

The event comes as consumers are returning in numbers to their local stores for smaller, more frequent shopping trips.

"Our mission this week is to remind shoppers, the media and government that the independent retailer has a commercial and social role in the local community which cannot be replaced by giant multiple corporations," said MSYS chairman Alan Toft.

Taking part in NIW activities had proven in the past to deliver an uplift in sales, during the week and afterwards, he added.

"MSYS has achieved millions of impacts on target shoppers, with independent retailers revealing their unique involvement with the community," he said.
❝ This is the perfect platform for me to give something back to the people who have supported me so loyally throughout the year."

Dan Cock
Whitestone Village Stores
& Post Office, Devon

❝ We want to involve as many village groups and organisations as possible and provide a fun family 'tea party' atmosphere at no cost for those attending."

John Mainwood
Sedlescombe Village Stores,
East Sussex

❝ We're having a quiz for customers about our shop. One of the correct entries will win a trolley dash around the store."

Dennis Williams
Broadway Convenience Store, Edinburgh