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New UK retail group formed to support independents

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Anthony Johnson, of independent UK tackle shop, Johnson Ross, is the Vice Chairman of the new retail group in the UK, AIR.

A new retail group made up of independent fishing tackle shops has been established in the UK.

The Association of Independent Retailers (AIR) says its key objectives include working directly with suppliers on exclusive products and to bring more people into the sport.

AIR has been in the planning stages for nine months and is currently made up of ten founder members – Johnson Ross, Total Angling, Carp Scene, Browns, The Tackle Box, Carp Store, HF Angling, Fat Fish Tackle, Wickersley Angling and Carp Scene.

But other tackle dealers who share the group’s ideals and meet its criteria will be welcomed as members.

Chairman of AIR is Kevin Peet, co-owner of the Tackle Box in Dartford, Kent, while the Vice Chairman is Anthony Johnson, a co-director of Johnson Ross in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. 

Rumours earlier in the year that AIR would be a buying group to compete with some other retailers are far from the truth, says Johnson.

“We are not that at all,” he said. “We have seen many big retailers and discounters come and go over the years and that is not what we are about. We want to work to make the independents stronger so they can survive and indeed thrive in the modern retail environment.

“We strongly believe in the strengths of independent shops, like trained staff, sound advice and quality customer service – things you don’t always get elsewhere.

“In the last few years we have seen the biggest change the trade has ever experienced and no one has better eyes on that than the independent retailer. A lot of tackle shops have disappeared and the objective of AIR is to help keep people in business.

“We are looking at working with innovative, forward-thinking suppliers who want to support the independent retailer. We have ideas for products that we are ready to work on.

“We also want to help to get people back into fishing. As independent retailers we can help with various fishing projects in our own communities.”

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