Irish independents have their say

Irish Health Stores are in good form and have grasped the opportunity to say so.


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For the first time, Irish independent retailers have been given an opportunity to ‘make some noise’ about their achievements and put themselves forward for special recognition.

That’s why the Health Stores Ireland/Better Retailing Magazine retailer awards was set up and, says organiser Alan McGrath, “they have grasped the opportunity with both hands”.

Applicants were asked to nominate shops over five categories to include enterprise, community, training, environment and marketing. The quality and quantity of entries display a new vibrancy and a healthy confidence within the independent retail sector.

“Retailers have for years been hitting high standards under these headings, but this open competition has given an opportunity for smaller independents, who may have been previously passed over for recognition, a chance to turn a light on their activities,” says Alan.

A noticeable trend in entries received was the amount of community engagement and environmental initiatives undertaken by independents. That has been an area where smaller independents have always led and the competition will give timely recognition to retailers in this area.

The completed nominations are now in the hands of an adjudication panel who will shortlist entries under each category for final assessment and awards. The awards will be presented at a special awards party at the Vitality Expo (RDS Dublin, September 8 & 9) when the industry and ‘real world’ celebs will toast the winners in a memorable evening of socialising and networking.

A snapshot of Ireland’s health stores

There’s a song about smiling Irish eyes and it definitely applies to the country’s health food retailers.

We’re indebted to Alan McGrath for showing us the results of a recent survey of members.

This understandably reflects the Irish attitude to training in all things health food retailing: all of the stores that responded said their staff were rightly called ‘nutritional expert’ and two-thirds have degree-level staff.

Irish health stores have a special training programme and have traditionally excelled in the Health Food Institute awards.

The survey was carried out over a 10-day period in early March so it does not represent the entire sector as just over a third of members responded. And as this is the first survey of its kind, McGrath will be fine-tuning it for future use.

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