York’s independent businesses are doing some amazing things – and they’re ready to shout about it.
The second AGM of York Independent Business Association – better known as Indie York – heard about some exciting plans for the future.
Chairman Johnny Hayes said Indie York already had more than 180 members, less than 18 months after its launch.
A new version of the Indie York map includes most of the newest members. And the ambition is to increase membership to 250 by the autumn.
‘City of Independents’
There are plans to launch the first York Independents Day next year.
It would take place on July 4 2019, the same as the US version, but be a celebration of the indie businesses that make the city so special.
This could lead on to an Independents Festival week.
Another idea was the introduction of the ‘Indie Pound’ – which would give people the opportunity to enjoy money off in the member shops and businesses.
At the event in Bootham School Johnny thanked both the York BID and Make It York for their support.
The Business Improvement District has invested in Indie York from its beginnings, and MIY are to provide the organisation with its own chalet during the St Nicholas Fayre Christmas market.
“We’d like to extend a huge thanks to the York BID and Bootham School for the support they have shown us, not least to the school for hosting our launch event,” Johnny said.
“The York BID has supported us from our establishment to the present day, and we’re extremely grateful for championing our cause.”
He said it was wonderful that this city had such a strong and varied indie sector.
“York should be recognised as a ‘City of Independents’ – that should be our objective.”
So far 15,000 copies of the original map showing York’s independent businesses had been distributed – and the Indie York website was proving very popular.
Indie York works to promote retail, food, drink, health and wellbeing, and cultural businesses and service providers based in the city.
In his introductory remarks the Lord Mayor of York Cllr Keith Orrell said the city had changed over the decades – but had always retained a strong independent sector.
During a question and answer session, Johnny said that the city should welcome new approaches to business in the city centre.
“Why does BHS have to be a single store?” he asked. “Could Spark move into BHS?”
And he felt that Indie York was leading the way: “I am pleased with the response from businesses and organisations who have joined Indie York over the last year.
“This new edition of the map means that we can continue to support as many independent businesses as possible, and help more people discover them.”