At the ACS Heart of the Community event last week, we were reminded of just how important it is for convenience stores to integrate their business in the local area.

Speaking at the event were two retailers – Julie Duhra and Dean Holborn.

For Julie, the 2015 Independent Achievers Academy winner for Service to the Community, playing a role in her local community in Telford is as important as the store itself.

She gets a buzz from engaging with her customers and helping them. So much so that they have nominated her for the Shropshire Star’s The People’s Champion award – twice.

With the onslaught of businesses making a play for your customers – from supermarket online offers, Amazon’s direct to door grocery service or Deliveroo-type delivery formats – you have to keep your store relevant.

Surrey retailer Dean has run a fireworks show for the past eight years, raising more than £40,000 for charities.

Great community involvement is something that Retail Express is never far away from.

Our many conversations with independent retailers present us with countless stories of shop owners and workers going out of their way to help their shoppers and wider community.

In this week’s issue of Retail Express, Nimesh Patel tells us about the importance of community to his store, while he and Joga Uppal of One Stop Mount Nod tell us about their in-store fundraising efforts for Macmillan.

With the onslaught of businesses making a play for your customers – from supermarket online offers, Amazon’s direct to door grocery service or Deliveroo-type delivery formats – you have to keep your store relevant. Relevant not only in what products and services you offer, but also in what you as a retailer do for your local area.

What can you do to put yourself at the heart of your community?