Two weeks ago, I had the unusual experience of being driven to a store visit by an elderly lady I got talking to at the local railway station, who turned out to be a regular customer there.
During the 10-minute drive, she talked non-stop about the owner, how he had built his business out of the ruins of another shop, befriended the community, offered everything she needed to buy and charged prices she wanted to pay. It was great, she said, because his nearest competitor was grumpy and very vocal about “customers who only bother buying a pint of milk”. It was a glowing reference that turned out to be well deserved – the store and its owner were excellent.
The RN team visits and writes about hundreds of brilliant independent retailers like this every year – another example is Paul and Pinda Cheema on page 5. But their utter dedication to their businesses makes their exploitation by monopoly-holders like PayPoint all the more outrageous.
So it’s truly to retailers’ credit that retailers like Marcus Bergin and Harj Dhasee have stood firm in-store and online in their fight against PayPoint’s commission cap this week. That’s despite threats to remove terminals where retailers have acted to protect profits.
RN readers do not deserve to suffer at the hands of monopoly-holders, and a championing, understanding new government might be just what’s needed to resettle this balance.
Thursday’s dramatic election result has seen many retailers celebrate the arrival of a Conservative government, but it must now deliver on its promises
Thursday’s dramatic election result has seen many retailers celebrate the arrival of a Conservative government, but it must now deliver on its promises to reform business rates, tackle parking charges and overhaul police cautions for shop theft. It’s only when an atmosphere of respect for RN readers is evident in all parts of the industry that we can be satisfied that a truly positive atmosphere for small businesses has been created.