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Kitchen Kapers director Caroline Gordon was elected president of the British Independent Retailers Association at the AGM on April 24.
She was formally proposed by Trevor Draper of Billericay Cookshop: "Everybody knows her, she was a founder member of the CHA, and she's a director of BIRA Direct," he said. "What everyone may not know is that until recently she sang in a professional choir." And he stressed that her presidential year is going to be a challenging one: "We have been through the worst three or four years in independent retailing that anyone can remember."
Seconding, Halina Dzisewska of the Gourmet Cookshop added: "Trevor didn't mention Caroline's determination, enthusiasm and care -and that will be very important, because we BIRA members are very demanding, and we'll make sure she doesn't sit still for a moment."
Accepting the presidency, Ms Gordon said the state of the economy has made it hard work for all retailers, especially independents. "Banks continue to turn a deaf ear to SMEs, but with BIRA Finance, there is at least one bank that will listen," she said. "I'm dedicating my year to building community spirit among our members - and to less talk and more do!"
Sarah Wood of Trevor Mottram in Tunbridge Wells was elected to the chair of the Cookshop & Housewares Association.
Michael Hughes, Bruce McLaren and Cliff Elliott were elected first, second and third BIRA vice-president respectively; Richard Rowlatt will remain as BHF chair for a second year; John Barratt was elected BAGMA president; and Debbie Keeling will serve a third year as chair of the Pet Products Retailers Association.
Two vacancies on the Board of Management were filled by Vin Vara and Sadie Chalkley.