BUSINESSES in Sleaford are being encouraged to celebrate their uniqueness and fly the flag for smaller shops on national Independents' Day.
Sleaford BID is urging traders to get extra mileage out of their Jubilee bunting and throw their weight behind a Skillsmart Retail initiative, by shouting about what makes them stand out from the crowd.
On Wednesday, July 4, shopkeepers and towns countrywide will celebrate the many and varied independent retailers in the UK. The aim is to raise awareness of the contribution these businesses make to their local communities and to encourage shoppers to buy at least one item from them on the day.
BID Manager Emma Batty said: "Independent businesses are what make market towns extra special and give them their character. They are well-placed to offer shoppers something different and ready to go the extra mile when it comes to personal service.
"Fears continue to be voiced about High Streets up and down the country, but in Sleaford we not only have long-established private businesses, but a steady stream of newcomers too, which all helps to give the town its unique ambience.
"Retailers can help to spread the word and promote the Skillsmart campaign to customers by popping special "Your local shops need you!" posters in their windows. These are downloadable from the www.skillsmartretail.com website, Retail Independents' Day page."
Suzanne Smith and Mark Askew are the brains behind Bennellies in Southgate.
Ms Smith said: "We established Bennellies as an online business in 2007 and developed it to the point where we sell 3,000 items, including clothing, equipment and accessories for premature babies up to tots aged three.
"We've been open a year and, although it has taken time to get the shop established, we now employ two people. We also continue to look out for unusual products, which you can't get everywhere else, which is what people say they like about us."
Mr Askew added: "We know that people are shopping savvy, which is why we have also taken advantage of the free consultancy help from the Sleaford BID. We like to keep our business fresh and up-to-date."
Skillsmart Retail is the Sector Skills Council for Retail. Jane Rexworthy, who is Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail said the Independents' Day campaign is a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity and talent of private shopkeepers.