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Indies rally to help

Many cookshop and housewares members of the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) have been rallying to help and serve their local communities during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as support fellow local independents.

Twitter and Instagram have seen a hive of activity with independent retailers using the platforms to spearhead initiatives to raise the profile of local retailers or community support groups.

Hargreaves & Sons in Buxton encouraged people to support local independent retailers. It joined with other independent retailers in the community to offer customers 10% off their next purchase from a range of other shops including fellow Bira member, jewellery shop Jantar.

The store closed on Saturday (March 21) but is keeping in touch with customers via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and emails, Messenger and via its phoneline. Hargreaves is continuing to offer personal free delivery to customers who are self-isolating within a five-mile radius of the shop.

Above: Frankie & Jonny’s has been promoting the Bishy Road Volunteers.
Above: Frankie & Jonny’s has been promoting the Bishy Road Volunteers.

Frankie & Jonny’s Cookshop in York has been helping to promote the ‘Bishy Road Volunteers’ network – a local initiative to help vulnerable people who are in self-isolation. The cookshop announced its temporary closure yesterday (March 22), prompted by a problem with its broadband provider and the need to minimise cash handling.

Richard Dare Cookshop and sister store Prep Cookshop in London’s Primrose Hill used its soclal media platforms to promote fellow independent retailers, and –with the two stores having closed until further notice from Saturday (March 21) – continue to offer to help customers that need something.

Meanwhile Coconut & Cotton, a plastic-free homewares store in Dorset (and online), is offering a free local refill delivery service for its soaps, hand sanitiser and cleaning products.

Bira ceo Andrew Goodacre reflected at the end of last week: “It is good to see that even during challenging times our members are being resilient and creative.”

See separate story on Bira member and gia winner Jarrold of Norwich.

* Bira has a coronavirus information hub for independents at


Top: Hargreaves is still trading online and over the phone, and delivering free of charge to those locals in isolation.

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