Last Thursday, Mike Hemsley from Itteringham Village Shop called to say two retailers had been in touch after reading about his store in RN.

He asked me to send a copy of the article, as he thought the profile ran back in July 2013. I checked and he was right, but I sent the article anyway.

How odd, I thought, that two readers would contact someone on the same day about such an old article. And then it got stranger.

The next day, Feckenham Community Shop chairman John Calvert phoned to say he had received a letter congratulating him on his marvelous store, following an article in RN. Could I send the article, asked John? I checked our database and again it was an old profile, this time from September 2013.

Then it dawned on me. It wasn’t the original store profiles that prompted RN readers to get in touch, but our feature from the 27 December issue on the 51 best business ideas from the brilliant retailers we profiled in 2013.

There are a number of reasons why this inspires me.

This feature is one of my favourite ever, and it shows that just one sentence is all that’s required to get a proactive retailer to take action.

It shows that RN is a great business resource worth keeping and referring back to time and again.

It also proves that retailers love learning from each other.

And with more than 2,000 retailers featured every year, if there’s a better source of original and inspiring ideas for retailers on the planet, I would love to know.