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March for The Independents campaign gathers momentum for national conference on March 3

Published:  06 January, 2015

Harpers new campaign to help support and put the spotlight on independent wine merchants is gathering momentum as leading independents line up to take part in a dedicated one day conference in London on March 3.

March for the IndiesMarch for the Indies

Harpers' March for The Independents campaign officially kicks off in February with a series of dedicated Action Weeks that focus in on key trading issues for independent wine merchants. Each of the Action Weeks will alllow merchants to take part and download and use information designed to help them in their businesses and get behind a nationwide effort to raise key issues facing independents.

The Action Weeks will be driven through and will look to cover key areas of business and marketing including:

* how independents can raise their profile with local and regional media

* how independents can get their local MP behind their business and make them aware of the key trading and political issues facing the independent sector

* expert advice for independents on buying, selling and negotiating wine and spirits deals with suppliers

* how independents can work more effectively with their suppliers and gain their support and commitment to the sector by signing up to the Harpers Best Practice Guidelines

* how independents can get on top of the latest business regulations that affect their sector

* the most effective and profitable ways independents can import wine, handle bonded warehousing and deal with duty payments

Independents will be able to go to dedicated sections of to access key information for their stores and download forms, open letters and media releases that they can send to their local press and MPs.

Harpers' March for The Independents campaign builds up to a day conference on March 3  at London's St Ermin hotel, that will tackle many of these issues in more depth and give independents the chance to hear and share their experiences and raise other issues they are facing in their stores. 

 The conference will look to help independents:

  • Get a better understanding of the key consumer trends relevant to their sector
  • Hear top industry and retail speakers offering best business practice advice
  • Get on top of the latest retail and small business regulations
  • Take part in open debates with fellow independents and major wine suppliers
  • Network with fellow merchants and suppliers who want to support independents
  • Taste new wines specially selected for the independent sector from our supporting wine suppliers

 The day will include open debates where merchants will be able to discuss between themselves their key business issues.

It will also feature dedicated seminars on key topics covering online, social media, marketing, the most effective ways of importing wine and working with bonded warehouses.

The conference will also examine the key business regulations facing independents and how they can get on top of issues such as waste management, recycling, duty deferement, employment law and small business issues.

The day will be hosted by leading independents from across the country with merchants already lined up to speak including Ruth Yates of Corks Out, Hal Wilson, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Philip Amps, Amps Wine, Stephen Forward, Essentially Wine, Ted Sandbach, Oxford Wine Company and Jamie Hutchinson of the Sampler.

Expert business advice will be provided by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association amongst others.

Over the coming weeks Harpers will also be linking up with major wine and spirits suppliers to the independent sector who will be able to offer advice and practical steps at the conference on how they can help merchants.

For more information on the March for Independents conference go to the dedicated website here.

Places are limited so if you would like to attend or register your interest to attend then please register here.

If you would like to be involved in the conference and share your  experiences or would like more information then contact Richard Siddle on