State of independents

By Paul Ainsworth

S HOPS across South, Belfast celebrated “Independents Day” on July 4 in a bid to encourage more people to shop local. The idea has been backed by the NI Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA), and was launched in the Arcadia Deli on the Lisburn Road.

It is hoped by promoting such retailers during the summer months, local economies will improve, saving businesses and jobs.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts attended the local launch.

“Independents Day is more than just encouraging con­sumers to shop independently, it is about celebrating the huge contribution our local traders make to our local economy, local producers and town centres,” he said.

“In an age of ever more clone towns and multiple stores, independents provide real choice to shoppers in our town and city centres.

“They also have been the route to market for many well known local companies such as Mash Direct and Genesis Bakery and continue to do so for so many local producers and manufacturers.”

“This year we are en­couraging consumers to make a special effort to shop and explore our local independent retail sector and make July a real independence month”

The scheme is supported by Belfast City Council. Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson joined the July 4 celebrations at Arcadia.

“We’re delighted to support this initiative which will promote the fine work, specialities and excellent range of products that our local independent retail sector has to offer,” he said.

Meanwhile, Arcadia owner and NIIRTA member Mark Brown added: “The Lisburn Road is a jewel in the crown of our independent retail sector and is an ideal location to launch this year’s Independents Day. As a local family business trading since 1933, we know that consumers want real choice and high-class customer service.”

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