Caroline Gordon, director of the Kitchen Kapers cookshop chain, has been elected president of the British Independent Retailers Association.
Gordon was formally proposed by Billericay Cookshop owner Trevor Draper at last week’s BIRA AGM.
“Everybody knows her: she was a founder member of the CHA, and she’s a director of BIRA Direct,” he said. But he stressed that her presidential year was going to be a challenging one: “We’ve been through the worst three or four years in independent retailing that anyone can remember,” he said.
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, Gordon said the state of the economy had 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, owner of Tunbridge Wells cookshop Trevor Mottram, 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.