Retailer viewpoint: Jon Powell, The Newsagent, Newport

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a retailer is if you need help, ask for it. I first started selling newspapers and magazines in a small wooden kiosk. At that point Newport Council was doing some redevelopments and because of the road works no one was walking past my shop anymore. I was as good as bankrupt, so when I was offered a place on the high street, I said yes. I was moved into a temporary cabin, and told it would only be four weeks before I moved out. The redevelopment suffered delays, however, and I ended up staying there for nine months.

I had no money to invest in any signage, so my makeshift shop looked more like a builder’s tea cabin than a newsagents. As my last roll of the dice, I called for help. I went on Twitter and sent out emails asking for support. Greg Deacon at News UK who was the first man on the scene. I hadn’t seen a News UK rep for years, but Greg sent me posters, headlines, dumpbins, bunting – the lot. I stuck them all over the place and put it out on the street. I got help from other suppliers, too, and the NFRN, and it was these resources that gave me the lifeline I needed to develop my business. Four years later, I’ve increased my magazine sales by 200% and stock 400-odd titles. I’ve invested in and grown as an HND retailer and have built a solid reputation with my community and suppliers.

Tip: Reach out to relevant organisations, suppliers and bodies and ask for help. Twitter is a particularly useful tool for this.

Jon’s kiosk:kiosk[1]From a tea-cabin to newsagent: Jon’s temporary shop before he moved onto the high street