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Spring gathering for Independents

Published: 6 April 2018 - Kiran Grewal

The sun shined down on Independent retailers as they came together at Morris Mica in Alcester on Sunday for the first of two Spring Mica Co-operative Meetings.

The meetings follow on from well attended visits to two Gold Award winners Halls Mica in Chapel-En-Le-Frith and Mainlys Mica of Devizes in 2016. Owners David & Maria Morris welcomed shop owners and managers from across the UK, as they opened specially on Sunday to invited guests.  

Morris Mica has operated as a hardware store for decades, previously called Burden’s, and came into its current ownership in 2002. In recent years they have been a finalist for Hardware Retailer of the Year, and were praised by fellow Members on Sunday for clear and organised layout, prominent promotion display bays and clutter free aisles both on the shop floor and in the stockroom.

The shop hasn’t always looked as it does today, and Maria had put together a range of photos of the business at the time they took over, including the internal building work done.

It has since evolved, with new flooring installed in recent years in two stages, previously they had been an early adopter of new LED lighting as part of a new ceiling installation, and the upstairs reconceived as a stockroom with new racking (having previously been partly rented out and used as an office). During the demise of Woolworths, they also bought racking at a knock down price from the administrators, something they’d recommend retailers consider now with the latest round of big names in difficulties.

Mr Morris said: “It was a challenge to transport and we had to disassemble ourselves, but the savings and improvements it allowed us to make to the shop at the time were massive.”

The visits offered a mixture of professional and social time, with a chance for visitors to identify ideas to take back to their own businesses and ask questions in a Member forum afterwards.

Mica CEO Michael Ball commented: “It’s so positive that Members like Morris Mica are willing to open up like this to fellow retailers, as it demonstrates that they’re proud of what they’re doing and are confident enough to seek the opinion of peers. This isn’t my first visit to David’s shop and the work that he and his team have put in on an ongoing basis is really paying off, turning what was already an excellent shop into a real beacon for independent retailing.”

The meeting came after a possibly record first week of Mica’s Easter promotion for the store, whose product sales (not accounting for add on sales) had totalled 20% of the weeks takings.

After the shop meeting and forum, Members were updated on the Co-operative’s latest developments in marketing, suppliers and finance with the opportunity for a Q&A with the CEO. This was followed by a digital training session on the Mica website scheme and dinner at a local restaurant. The second Mica Spring meeting where Members will hope for a similarly sunny outcome will take place at a store in Scotland next month.




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