Small Business Britain has announced the finalists in its nationwide search for the smallest and greatest independent high street businesses.

Eight standout small firms from across the UK have been shortlisted for the 2023 finals of the ‘High Street Hero’ Small Awards category, which is sponsored by TSB – including independent gift shop chain Maybugs, which operates three branches in the East Sussex towns of Bexhill, Eastbourne and Hailsham.

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The seven other contenders are: W J French and Son – a family-run shoe shop in Southampton; Northern Card Gaming – a Northern Ireland-based hobby and games store that regularly runs events for its local community; Drake the Bookshop – an independent and family-run book shop in Stockton-on-Tees; TOAST – a collection of independent coffee houses in Suffolk which champions sustainability; Wave of Nostalgia – a small bookshop in Keighley focused on inclusivity and female independence; People First Mobility – a Skegness-based business providing locals and holiday-goers with mobility equipment; and The East Street Deli – a husband-and- wife run independent deli in Wimborne.

Small Business Britain founder Michelle Ovens CBE said: “These shortlisted businesses are all heroes as they go above and beyond for their local towns, cities and communities. Independent businesses like these are vital to help keep the nation’s high streets alive, and they play such an important role in bringing people together. We are so excited to announce the winner of the High Street Hero award at this year’s Small Awards in May.”

TSB business banking director Adeel Hyder added: “It’s fantastic to see such an impressive group of businesses that have been shortlisted for the High Street Hero award. Times have been tough recently for independent businesses, and it’s so encouraging to see such optimism shine through, despite the challenges they’ve faced. A huge congratulations to all the finalists.”

Judged by a panel of industry experts, the winner will be announced at a glittering awards night in London on May 18.

Launched in 2017, The Small Awards target the small business sector. The initiative is run by Small Business Britain, which supports 5.5 million small businesses in the UK. Through a series of reports, events and campaigns, Small Business Britain champions, inspires and accelerates small businesses in the UK to foster growth and increased confidence.

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