The Retail District category of the Good Retail Awards set out to find retail areas that produce innovative campaigns and customer-centric initiatives to create a buzz around the retail stores in their area.
Last year’s winners, Greenwich Market, set the bar high with their vibrant shopping district that showcases the work and offerings of market traders and local independent shops.
Following on from the success of last year’s awards, this year saw retailers enter from far and wide, sharing their fantastic work and inspirational stories, despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19. Those that were shortlisted were able to demonstrate the impact of their campaigns on retailers, helping to grow awareness and business as well as gathering the support of locals.
The Good Retail Awards’ panel of judges went through the shortlist for the Retail District category, looking for stand-out initiatives that positively impact the local area, support retailers and engage communities. After a challenging judging process, the winner of the Good Retail Awards 2021’s Retail District Award was decided.
The Retail District Award winner – Made in Ashford
Made in Ashford has provided a platform for local creative businesses to sell their products, as well as helping to regenerate the town, support micro businesses and celebrate creativity, all for free or at an affordable price.
Selling local creatives’ products in their brick and mortar shop and online, Made in Ashford has also launched online live shopping events, online market nights and a physical regular makers market; creating multiple channels for members to sell their products. To assist the positive regeneration of the town, members and other local creatives have run workshops with some places being funded, preventing there being a barrier to entry. Made in Ashford also has free content online full of ideas for anybody to download, which has increased website visits and grown members’ visibility and success simultaneously.
Speaking about the ways they have supported local businesses, Melissa of Made in Ashford, said: “We had a website already but when the pandemic started, we went and put loads more products on there, fitting as much as we could from the shop to make sure we could feature everybody. It’s all been a bit of trial and error, as well as bouncing ideas off each other. We had live shopping events on social media that we started doing more regularly, then we added the online market nights which we hadn’t done pre-pandemic, because we wanted to be able to offer a way for our members and local businesses to be noticed.”
Getting creative with the ways they engage the community, Melissa added: “Things like our free craft tutorials on our YouTube channel have brought positivity to so many in these tough times. Zoom meetings between shop members have also been great because our shop is a community hub and without this, the social element has been taken away. We’ve tried hard to make sure everybody is well supported throughout and can still have as much fun as possible. We’ve got over 50 businesses in our shop and we’re really lucky to have such a great community, so we all share our customer bases and expand our network.”
These innovative methods of adapting to support the local retailers continue to make a difference, with Melissa explaining: “Our customers have been fantastic and there’s been a big swing towards shopping locally. We’ve increased our visibility on social media, making sure we post every day and have also introduced email marketing with events and things that we are doing. I also advertise in the shop window in case people walk past. We’re still moving forward and trying new things, which is helping us to gain more traction every day.”
Made in Ashford’s ongoing efforts have worked to benefit the community, inspiring locals, encouraging business collaborations, growing members’ sales and benefiting the town in challenging times.
The Good Retail Awards judges praised Made in Ashford for their work to support retailers in the town, with Naeem Arif, Founder of NA Consulting describing it as a “Small enterprise that delivers big outcomes.”
Catherine Erdly, Founder of the Resilient Retail Club, added: “Made In Ashford is a breath of bright, rainbow-coloured air. They are a wonderful community initiative and have had impressive results given the challenges of this year.”
Julie Driscoll, UK Regional Director of Hyve Group plc (Spring Fair), said: “What a great example of a retail platform that supports creative small businesses both in person and online to drive awareness and a sustainable revenue stream.”
The Good Retail Awards 2021 shortlist highlighted retail districts that are leading the way in supporting businesses and positive retail initiatives. The calibre of entries was incredibly high this year, with the campaigns and creativity displayed making the judging process a real challenge.
The shortlist for the Retail District award included:
Radcliffe Market aimed to create greater belief and pride in their town, providing the opportunity for new and existing traders to establish their businesses with support, carrying out local fundraising and providing resources to reinvest back into the community.
Hebden Bridge Business Forum
Hebden Bridge Business Forum promoted ‘loyal to local’ messaging, supporting local businesses through voluntary support and not for profit, as well as encouraging people to shop locally and reduce their carbon footprint.
As the UK’s and Scotland’s only Digital Improvement District, CuparNow was able to leverage their creation to provide support for all businesses and organisations in the community, promoting their #ShopLocal message, sharing essential information and providing resources to help businesses manage social distancing.
We’d like to thank everybody that entered the Good Retail Awards 2021. It’s been a pleasure to learn more about each and every entrant and we look forward to continuing to celebrate their successes in the coming months.
To read more about the Retail District shortlist, click here.
Thanks again to all who have made the Good Retail Awards 2021 such a success. We’re proud to be part of a community that showcases the most inspirational and exciting initiatives in the industry. Congratulations again to Made in Ashford and we look forward to continuing to share the most innovative campaigns in the world of retail.
To find out more about the Good Retail Awards, and to keep up to date with the latest news, click here.