Buckingham coffee shop owner takes a stand against retail giants

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A Buckingham coffee shop owner has set up a new trade association to support independent coffee shops.

Garry Sutherland, who owns Gelateria Gazzeria in Meadow Walk, has created the Association of Independent Coffee Vendors (AICV) to help small coffee shops fight against the retail giants in the industry.

Now he’s calling on other owners and proprietors to sign up and has been contacted by other coffee shop owners around the country who have also been affected by the larger chains.

One aim of the AICV is to provide collective purchasing power, to get better deals for its members on items such as equipment and insurance.

But its main role is as a lobbying organisation.

Mr Sutherland told the Advertiser: “It’s to represent us to government, to lobby for change to how the government views us and to try to get some regulation to stop unfair competition.

“We want to level the playing field a bit.

“We are looking to eventually lobby for the regulation of business and to challenge the government’s attitude towards businesses like us.

“Small coffee shop owners who have specific needs and interests are not catered for by any other organisation.

“It’s not an easy business to be in. You are completely isolated. There’s nowhere to turn for help. You need an organisation that can maybe shout a bit louder.

“Any outlet that sells coffee that’s not a major chain can join the AICV and hopefully we’ll be able to use our voice to get our message across.”

Mr Sutherland is calling for other owners and proprietors to come forward and help with the administration, promotion and governance of the AICV.

See www.independentcoffeevendors.org