Less than a year after its formal launch, Indie York is closing in on 200 members.

The group, which showcases the remarkable wealth of independent businesses in the city, aims to hit the double century this spring.

And it is calling on firms to join up via the website to become part of exciting plans for the future.

The group has already made a big impression.

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No fewer than 14,000 maps have been printed and distributed and the website and social media is well used.

Now for the first time Indie York is now taking applications from business to business associate members who will be promoted online.

Full disclosure: YorkMix is a member of Indie York – and a big supporter!

City’s X factor

Indies give York the cutting edge says Johnny Hayes. Photograph: YorkMix

It isn’t only York’s beauty and history that is attracting more than seven million visitors every year.

Increasingly it is what Indie York chairman Johnny Hayes calls the city’s X factor that brings them here.

“One of the special things about York is the huge number of independent businesses we have,” he said.

“Because the city centre is made up of mainly smaller shops and properties in the historic core, then inevitably smaller independents will be the only businesses that will be interested in opening a business there.

“Other cities may have the familiar chainstores that every city needs but York has something extra.”

It is these indie businesses that give York the edge, Johnny says.

“They provide character, interest and diversity that you cannot buy on the internet or in out of town shopping centres.”

Pockets not deep

The marvellous Indie York map

Independent businesses do not have the deep pockets that larger chains have and must attract customers to survive.

“They need to do everything they can to draw people to their businesses as much business as possible.

“Indie York is an association of York Independents that provides a map and website to show where they are, what they are about and all the details that people need.”

That map was launched last spring with 100 members, then reprinted in November 2017 with 145 members.

By this spring Indie York aims for around 200 members. Indie York has been supported by the York BID (Business Improvement District), and was sponsored by Bootham School in 2017.