Many of you will be familiar with our annual Local Shop Report, the third edition of which we published in September amidst a flurry of media activity about the resilience and success of the convenience sector and a well-attended launch event in Birmingham.

What you may not know about the report is that we also take the findings directly to the heart of Government, presenting to a room of officials in different Government departments that consult on policy decisions which could potentially affect local shops (both positively and negatively).

The event, which we held in the Department for Business last week, explained not only the success of the sector but also the pressures that store owners are under on issues such as minimum wage and business rates. To explain this fully, we took officials around London to visit a number of stores and give them first-hand experience of what it’s like to run a modern local shop.

Inviting officials and MPs into shops may seem like a simple thing to do, but the importance of allowing them to see for themselves what’s happening in the sector and to speak to the entrepreneurs that run stores about the challenges they face cannot be underestimated.

While we can do this with central government, you have the opportunity to do the same at a local level. Inviting your MP, councillors and local authorities to your store is a powerful tool and a great way to ensure that they are committed to supporting local shops. We can provide you with constituency cards that outline the contribution that local shops make to the economy and the jobs they create in your area, but it’s up to you to provide examples from your business that demonstrate the passion you have for retailing and community engagement.

Setting up a store visit is easy. Put your postcode into a tool on the ACS website, and we will generate an email to your MP asking for a store visit. You can also get in touch with us directly if you would like a constituency card for your area.