Your greatest gift – imagination

Ranjan Patel used her first speech as president of London’s Newsagents Federation this week to urge independent shopkeepers to use their imagination to win business from shoppers.

“We can exploit [our shops] by using our greatest gift, our imagination, ensuring the environments we create are interesting and inviting,” she said.

On the street in London a day later I passed by an Italian deli, which was beautifully presented and outside had a little sign encouraging shoppers to book an Italian cookery course, under the headline ‘I love Cooking! Make your own Italian dinner £35’.

Further up the street, was a Mexican restaurant with fresh oranges and limes in boxes by the window…plus a mass of chilis. It was completed by an A-board outside saying that it was the Observer’s best cheap eats in the UK award winner.

In between was a newsagent business with a Camelot national lottery station outside. Inside I was greeted by two signs on its magazine rack. One said: “No browsing.” The other said: “Thieves will be prosecuted.”

Perhaps the owner should take a short walk up and down his own street and think about what he is doing to make his store a destination for shoppers. He may have some problem customers but there must be an alternative to making your shop feel like a fortress.


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