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Guidance in preparing for EU exit

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

11 Feb 2019, more…

CHSI Stiches 2019

Check out the CHSI Stiches 2019 event guide

8 Feb 2019, more…

Yarn Shop Day is back

Yarn Shop Day is back for 2019 and in its sixth year!

8 Feb 2019, more…

CHSI Stiches workshop programmes

With just 3 weeks left until CHSI Stiches, book your spaces onto some amazing workshop programmes available.

28 Jan 2019, more…

Best Small Shops Winner 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...

12 Dec 2018, more…

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Sewing

Have you ever dreamt of becoming a sewist, but didn't know where to start?

4 Dec 2018, more…

Best Small Shops Competition 2018

Read about the Best Small Shops Competition 2018 right here

14 Nov 2018, more…

Chancellor considering "Amazon tax" for online retailers

Creating a more level playing field for bricks and mortar retailers

13 Aug 2018, more…

UK Hand Knitting launches Commit To Knit 2018

Encouraging knitters and crocheters to make one item for charity

7 Aug 2018, more…

Hobbycraft sales continue to grow

Hobbycraft achieved its eighth consecutive year of sales growth

13 Jul 2018, more…

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Best Small Shops Competition 2018

Posted on 14 Nov 2018

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.