Independent bookshops are being encouraged to enter the relaunched Best Small Shops competition, which celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers and the central role they play in their local community.
"The evolving retail landscape has witnessed numerous high-profile closures of larger stores, but specialist independent retailers can thrive in this climate by delivering a truly unique retail experience thanks to the passion, service, flexibility and knowledge they offer," said the organisers. "The Best Small Shops competition is a chance to celebrate this unique industry and show customers what makes independent retailers so special."
The competition is open to any UK independent retailer, defined as a non-corporate business selling goods or services to the public for use or consumption rather than for resale, from a business rated premises in the UK.
The competition will close on 9th September and a shortlist of 25 will be submitted to a judging panel made up of key figures from the independent retail industry. These retailers will be invited to attend the competition reception in autumn 2018, where the winner will be awarded the title of Best Small Shop 2018.
In 2015, the shortlisted retailers attended a reception at the Houses of Parliament where they had the opportunity to meet with MPs, trade representatives and other shortlisted independent retailers before the winner, Hunters of Helmsley was announced. Four indie bookshops were on the final shortlist of 20 that year, with Book Nook in Hove, Mr B’s Emporium in Bath, Booka in Oswestry and The Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells all celebrated, and with The Mainstreet Trading Company being highly commended as a runner up to the eventual winner.
"We are hoping for a similarly strong showing from indie bookshops this year!" said the organisers.
Meryl Halls, managing director of the BA, added: “We are thrilled at the return of the Best Small Shops competition, which gives our incredible indie bookshops a chance to shine amongst their creative and passionate peers on the high street. We’d encourage all indies to enter themselves into the competition, and I am sure we stand a good chance of seeing a bookshop take the winning spot!”
To apply, bookshops should fill out the online application form.