Nottingham’s independent businesses to be celebrated

BID director Geoff Williams, Michelangelo Franco of The Specialty Coffee Shop, BID director Jess Barnett

The It’s in Nottingham Independent campaign returns once again to showcase and celebrate Nottingham’s unique mix of independent businesses.

This year it will take place from 1 June to 4 July with various activities and events happening place across Nottingham city centre, including a competition and festival.

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This is the seventh year that the Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) has organised the It’s in Nottingham initiative. With an independent scene to rival most UK cities, the aim of the campaign is to help people discover and support the extensive range of independent outlets that the city has to offer from designer boutiques to family venues as well as to publicly acknowledge them.

The campaign will kick off with a competition to find Nottingham’s Best Independent Business, and this year the public can nominate their favourite independent in seven different categories, rather than just in two as in previous years.

The categories are: 

Attractions & Things to Do

Café/Coffee Shop
Health, Hair & Beauty
Homes & Giftware
Pub, Club, Bar & Music Venue

People can make their nominations either by picking up a voting card in one of the city’s many independent businesses or by nominating them online at The closing date for nominations is 4.30pm on Thursday 21 June 2018.

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The top three businesses in each category with the highest number of nominations will be visited by an independent judge who will rate them on various criteria including staff friendliness, customer service, product range, knowledge and individuality. The winning business in each category plus an overall winner will be announced at a special breakfast event taking place on Wednesday 4 July 2018 – Independence Day.

This year for the first time there will be a Special Achievement award which will be presented to the businesses that judges believe should have special recognition for their contribution to the independents scene in Nottingham city centre.

Scooping the overall title last year was The Specialty Coffee Shop, on Friar Lane with Knit Nottingham on Trinity Walk being highly commended in the shops and services category and Hockley-based gift shop and tea room, Debbie Bryan, being highly commended in the eating, drinking and things to do category.

“Being shortlisted in the top ten was great and provided a real boost to our business because it drew attention to us and resulted in lots of media coverage,” said Michelangelo Franco, who owns and runs The Specialty Coffee Shop with his partner Lucy Giacone. “Then going on to win the competition overall was a real bonus. It helped to raise our profile further and attract a lot of new customers which was great for the business, enabling us to refurbish the coffee shop to give it a fresh new look and provide further seating for customers.”

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To coincide with the announcement of the winning independent business, a competition will be launched to the public, giving somebody the chance to win an independent experience in Nottingham. The lucky winner will get to stay, dine, shop and be entertained at some of the city’s top independent businesses.

Also to celebrate Nottingham’s great independently owned businesses and to attract people to the areas of the city where there is a high concentration of these businesses, there will be a special Independents Festival on Saturday 30 June.

The city centre will come alive with themed stages set up at four key locations across the city, with free family fun, entertainment, music and activities for people to enjoy throughout the day.

The locations and themes for the stages are:

Trinity Square – Family stage
Pelham Street – Acoustic stage
Middle Pavement – World Music stage
Carlton Square – Carnival & circus arts performances
Special fringe events will also be taking place at some of the city’s most popular independent shopping destinations, including St James’s Street and Trinity Walk.