Independents’ Day the perfect way to #ShopLocal, #ShopSafe

| Katarzyna Tomczak

Retail NI launched its Independents’ Day campaign for 2020 with the Economy Minister Diane Dodds last week. The campaign will again include an online vote to find the people’s favourite independent retailer, local high street, independent retail employee and to recognise a retailer who has gone the extra mile for their customers during Covid-19. Camelot is the keynote supporter of Independents’ Day. The online public vote will open on Independents’ Day, 4th July and will continue until 31st July at

The First Minister Arlene Foster showed her support for the campaign with a visit to Enniskillen on Friday.  She held a meeting with local traders, Enniskillen BID and representatives from the local Council to hear about the struggles being faced by high street traders, before taking a stroll and making purchases in Enniskillen Town Centre.

Enniskillen BID Manager Noelle McAloon was delighted to see the First Minister use the Enniskillen Gift Card while shopping in town.  The Enniskillen Gift Card promotes independent traders, by encouraging customer loyalty and local spend.  Noelle commented “Enniskillen, like many town centres, has suffered during the Covid19 crisis.  Any initiatives to encourage the shop local ethos is welcomed and we were glad to see the First Minister shopping local today.  Enniskillen is facing additional pressure with the works associated with the public realm which will continue into 2021,  but we hope that the finished result will be worth the disruption.”

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“There has never been a more important time to celebrate and acknowledge local independent retailers as we work through the Covid-19 crisis. Many Retail NI members made a huge effort to ensure communities had food and other vital products available to them at the height of the pandemic” “As we now start along the long road of recovery, now more than ever, we need consumers to support independent retailers to boost our high streets and the rebuilding of our local economy”

“July will now be Independents’ Month and we will be using this month as the biggest ever showcase of our amazing world class local independent retailers and the huge contribution they make to our local communities, high streets, and local suppliers”

“This July we want shoppers to vote independent!”

Diane Dodds MLA, Minister for the Economy who launched the campaign said: “From the very early days of this pandemic, retail workers have been at the frontline delivering an essential service to the people of Northern Ireland. Many shops remained open during lockdown and quickly adapted their premises to ensure the safety of their customers and staff. I know how hard everyone in the retail trade has been working. The Independents’ Day awards provide the opportunity for us all to say thank you and I would encourage people to vote for their favourite retail outlet.”