The Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) is once again running a special campaign to highlight the strength and diversity of independent businesses in the city centre and encourage people to ‘shop local’.
The campaign, which was launched this week (23 September) and will run to 18 October, will build on the success of last year’s initiative which focused on raising awareness of the great range of independent businesses amongst the BID’s members for shopping, eating, drinking and relaxing. This year has been expanded and will include a number of exciting activities – some old favourites and some new.
Once again there is a competition to find Nottingham’s favourite independent business which is running in conjunction with the Nottingham Post. Readers of the paper, customers of the independent businesses and the public generally have the opportunity to vote either via the paper, on line, twitter or via a voting card available in store, with the top businesses as voted for by the public then being judged by an independent panel who will select the winners.
The competition is open to all independent retail and leisure businesses in the city centre – from fashion retailers, jewellers and shoe shops, hair & beauty salons, cafes, delis and coffee shops, to pubs, bars, restaurants and lots more. Last year’s winners were specialist comic shop, Page 45 and café bistro, Homemade.
A new online interactive map showing BID Zone independent businesses has also been created which can be viewed at itsinnottingham.com. A new mobile app has been launched too to coincide with the campaign which includes a special section where you can browse and search Nottingham’s independents.
During the campaign, for people signed up to the city’s favourite reward scheme – VIP Nottingham, there will be a range of exclusive promotional offers and treats from the BID’s independent businesses. In addition, a promotional video has been produced celebrating the BID’s independents which includes interviews with last year’s favourite independent competition winners.
“Nottingham’s independent businesses are critical in attracting shoppers and visitors to the city,” said Geoff Williams, a director of the Nottingham BID. “Whilst the major chains are clearly important, it is the independents that really help to differentiate the city from other places and make it a destination of choice. The Independent Campaign is designed to highlight our independent offering with the diverse range of promotional activities all designed to raise awareness of the independent businesses and encourage people to support them.”
Jasmin Barlow-Wilkinson, the proprietor of Homemade, said: “I definitely feel that being one of the winners last year was an honour and it has helped raise the profile of Homemade. We have our fab shiny award in the window too which is always nice! I think the independents are important to Nottingham as they give the city some personality and provide an insight into what running a business is like. It is not easy at all to compete with the big chains who often get more perks and better supplier offers but we get the opportunity to provide a face to a service and give a more creative personal touch in the process. One of the best things about having Homemade is all of the wonderful regulars, many of whom feel like friends and the great chats we have.”
Jasmin continues, “To make an independent business successful I think you have to stay on your toes, observe what else is going on around you and always be prepared to up your game.
“The advantages quality independent businesses bring to any city are individuality, passion and personal customer service,” adds Stephen Holland, partner and manager of Page 45. “I rather like that, and I’d rather keep it. I like seeing where my money goes. It’s like voting – with wallets.”