York is a city of independents – and the council must do all it can to support them.
That was the message from Johnny Hayes, the chairman of Indie York, at the relaunch of the business group’s website.
Formed after the Boxing Day floods in 2015, Indie York was created to champion independent traders who are the backbone of the city’s economy.
Two-thirds of York’s businesses are independently run.
“Independents are a force within the city,” Johnny said, at a celebration held in the Supersonic gym in Stonebow House.
“I’ve often described York as a city of independents. It’s one of its USPs, and certainly needs to be pushed.”
Force to be reckoned with
From its foundation with a handful of businesses, Indie York now has more than 200 members – including shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, cultural organisations and more.
We’ve now got over 200 members, we’ve just launched our new website, we’ve recently printed and distributed our new map.
We’ve got a lot of interest in Indie York through social media.
With our 200 members we’re proving that we’re a force to be reckoned with, within the city.
Indie York is “a lobbying group now, who can influence the council and influence other stakeholders”.
Before stepping down at the last election, Johnny was an independent member of City of York Council. And it must back the indie businesses, he said.
The council needs to realise how much it contributes – and to give it support wherever it can.
Independents tend to be very marginal. It’s a very short distance between profitability and non-profitability.
The council can play an important part in getting locals and visitors to visit independents to make them profitable.
The meeting heard from Russ Huntington of I-Finity Associates, which built the new Indie York website.
Andy Kerr of the council talked about the My City Centre consultation.
And Kirsten Sheppard invited members to join her new scheme INclusive York, encouraging businesses to employ people with disabilities.
On 4 July this year, Indie York is planning to host Independents Day, celebrating these businesses in style.