Communicating to shoppers that your store is at the centre of your local community will increase sales and profits, as well as drive footfall and customer loyalty. This is a huge advantage that local independent retailers have over their competition. Getting to know shoppers and what matters to them is very important and close interaction with the community provides an opportunity to offer a personal service, that will give shoppers a reason to choose your store. The simple task of communicating with your shoppers by putting up a community notice board, using social media, getting involved with local charity events, offering a delivery service or sponsoring a local sports team could set your store apart. Listening to shoppers, tailoring your store around them and then communicating your products, prices and services will not only secure a place for you within your community, it will grow your business. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage local independent stores to enter these prestigious awards and wish every entrant the very best of luck.