Beaconsfield-based commercial property owner, asset-manager and developer Sorbon Estates has launched a partnership with the British Independents Retailers Association (bira) to support indie retailers in a changing and often challenging, retail landscape.
Sorbon is building on its established commitment to independent retailers by offering a year’s free bira membership to its independent retailer tenants across the South East. The membership service provides a wealth of business benefits including, free legal advice, business banking, specialist insurance, access to tax accountants and more. Members also benefit from the exclusive rates and discounts that bira has negotiated with more than 180 suppliers representing approximately 2,000 associated brands across a range of retail sectors.
The partnership was announced in Maidenhead at Bakedd, an independent Mediterranean bakery which was the first Sorbon tenant to move into Shanly Homes’ Chapel Arches waterside regeneration scheme. Tenants were invited to hear guest speakers talk about the changing high street and how independent retailers can adapt and continue to thrive.
Julie Holden from bira shared some of the latest retail insight: “The retail landscape is changing, with more service-based retailers opening up where traditional product-based retailers used to be, as well as the rise of mobile device usage by consumers.
“Shop keepers need to take time out, to plan and reflect on their point of difference and create an environment that delivers an ‘experience’. Not everyone is driven by price alone. Shoppers are more informed than ever before; they are looking for something new or different and that’s the beauty of independent retailers.”
The audience heard about other bira members who have set up events such as fashion shows or used online competitions to drive footfall. Members can also access window stickers to promote a ‘shop local’ message and advertise that a shop is independent.
Tamra Booth, managing director at Sorbon Estates, said: “Over 70% of tenants within our property investment portfolio are independent businesses which we recognise add diversity and vibrancy to our high streets. Coming from humble beginnings ourselves almost 50 years ago, we understand the challenges small businesses can face and so wanted to offer the support of a wider network to help indies thrive.
“As a commercial developer and investor, we invest in property improvements and work with tenants to support them wherever possible. Now, through the bira membership our tenants can have access to a suite of services to bring them even closer to achieving their business goals.”