‘We are open’ directory launched to promote small shops open for business

The Independent Retailers’ Confederation (IRC) has launched an online directory to promote small shops still open for business during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new ‘We are open’ online map and directory lists independent shops that have been able to remain open as a ‘notable exception’, such as bike shops, and those trading responsibly in other formats to serve their communities. The map provides a platform for these retailers to communicate to their customers and the general public that they are still accessible.

According to IRC, dozens of bike shops have already been added to the directory. And with the likes of the World Health Organisation (WHO) advocating cycling and walking to limit physical contact to prevent and slow down the pandemic, its important for IBDs to be able to reach new and potential customers.

Retailers can clarify the extent to which they are operating, whether it be fully, by appointment only, or as an online or delivery-only basis. Shop owners can also include offers available specifically for key workers.

To see confirmed operating independent retailers in their area, customers simply enter their postcode into the map. They can also search by sector, business type or by retail-specific filter options.

Mark Walmsley, Chairman of the IRC, said: “From the feedback the IRC received from independent retailers across multiple sectors, as well as from the general public through our consumer-facing site Indie Retail, it became apparent that a platform such as ‘We are open’ was essential.

“The public still needs the products, services and knowledge that independent retailers provide and the ‘We are open’ directory helps them to quickly locate those shops that are open for business. This directory will help bridge the gap between customers looking for open shops in a certain location, from a specific sector or selling a particular brand, and the retailers that remain open in some way to serve the public.”

Retailers can confirm their opening status now at weareopen.uk/register. All UK independent retailers can add a listing onto the site completely free of charge.

A number of other resources for bike shops and their customers have also launched in the past month or so. Sustrans’ Cycles for Key Workers, a new map designed to make cycling easier for key workers for the Covid-19 pandemic, shows bike and equipment offers as well as repair and maintenance services available to key workers in their local area. Meanwhile, the ACT and BA have joined forces to create a new website specifically for bike shops – www.openbikeshops.uk – set up to highlight bicycle shops that are staying open during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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