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Children's creative summer workshops

8 May 2019

Summer holidays can keep crafters away from their hobby and away from visiting your store. Running children's workshops can open your store to those crafters with children and parents looking to... Read more…

Stationery Show London 2019

8 Apr 2019

Get ready for this year's Stationery Show London
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Bring your craft store to life

5 Apr 2019

Visual merchandising tips to bring your craft store to life
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The Women's Festival of Cycling 2019

2 Apr 2019

Cycling UK, for the third year running, has organised the Women's Festival of Cycling
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Guidance in preparing for EU exit

11 Feb 2019

A new guidance has been published for the retail sector with information on preparing for the EU exit
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CHSI Stiches 2019

8 Feb 2019

Check out the CHSI Stiches 2019 event guide
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Yarn Shop Day is back

8 Feb 2019

Yarn Shop Day is back for 2019 and in its sixth year!
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CHSI Stiches workshop programmes

28 Jan 2019

With just 3 weeks left until CHSI Stiches, book your spaces onto some amazing workshop programmes available.
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Best Small Shops Winner 2018

12 Dec 2018

A combined bookshop, café, deli & homeware shop based in St Boswells, in the rural Scottish Borders, has been named Britain's Best Small Shop of 2018 at an event at the Houses of... Read more…

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Sewing

4 Dec 2018

Have you ever dreamt of becoming a sewist, but didn't know where to start?
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Best Small Shops Competition 2018

Posted on in Business News, Cycles News, Creative News, Political News

Yesterday, we held our second Best Small Shops Competition just three and half years after the first one in 2015 to show our support and gratitude and to promote specialist, independent retailers across the UK. This competition is here to celebrate the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK's High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities.


The competition entry we held brought in almost 600 independent retailers from across the UK and after a gruelling and difficult process of narrowing the entries down, we announced the 25 shortlisted finalists.

On the 13th of November we held an event at Westminster Palace overlooking the River Thames, right in the heart of London. Mark Walmsley, the Chair of the Independent Retailers Confederation and organisers of the Best Small Shops Competition, opened up the event by congratulating the 25 Indie Retail businesses.

"Just getting to the reception out of the hundreds of entrants and the hundreds of thousands of indie retailers throughout the UK is an achievement in itself, so congratulations to you all."

Mark went on to say how reading the entries to this competition was one of the most heart-warming experiences for him to this day. The level of engagement and influence in community projects by so many of the entrants was remarkable and a story in itself.

John Norrie, CEO of Tranxactor and the developers of the soon to launch booost app, congratulated the 25 finalists before introducing the booost three-in-one app that will be coming to the market soon.

booost is a trading and consumer app for independent retailers and it is the first of its kind, levelling the playing field between independent retailers and corporates. booost offers powerful tools designed to engage with new customers through loyalty programmes, gift vouchers and promotions for retailers to take advantage of and tailor uniquely to their business. Read more about booost here.

John announced the runners of the 2018 Best Small Shops Competition, Hopes of Longtown and Longwell Records.


Hopes of Longtown is an independent village store in Longtown, near Hereford, and referred to locally as a hub of information. Hopes of Longtown has become a central point for locals and has had a long involvement with the local tourism association to help sustain the community. "We absolutely believe we can make an economic difference to the area by providing an outlet to sell local produce." Explains owner Christine Hope. "We are all about sharing our knowledge and hoping other small retailers can also carve out a point of difference, rather the small shop with bread, milk and baked beans until we can do a 'proper shop'."


Longwell Records is an independent record shop in Bristol that is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. Iain Aitchison, the owner of Longwell Records, says his shop probably saved his life. Iain's passion for his work comes from wanting to continuously engage with people and find new and exciting ways to do so.

Ruth George, MP and chair of APPG on Small Shops, announced the winner of this year's competition, The Mainstreet Trading Company. Starting from scratch in 2008, Rosamund De La Hey created a destination store from the ground up bringing books, coffee, high quality deli and an outstanding homeware range to the people. The Mainstreet Trading Company has become a multi-faceted business through the dedication and commitment to quality products and customer service partnered with a retail vision that is impeccable.


Yesterday's event was a great success bringing retailers from across the UK together to share their stories and show their passion and dedication to their businesses. The 25 shortlisted finalists included an amazing array of independent retailers from multiple sectors incuding Arragons Cycle Centre from the cycles sectors and Outdoors & Active from the outdoors and recreation sector.  

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