To assist health stores in navigating business during the pandemic, the National Association of Health Stores (NAHS) has introduced a limited time offer of free membership to retailers who are not already registered and taking advantage of its benefits.
Avril McCracken, administrator for the NAHS, tells NPN what prompted the offer: “Since the crisis began, we are receiving an increasing number of phone calls and emails from non-members seeking advice. They were not, however, able to access the free bira legal advice helpline only available to members. We are committed to ensuring that all independent retailers within our sector remain able to trade to benefit themselves, their communities and our industry as a whole.”
Over the past few years, McCracken explains, the NAHS has run ‘various membership incentives’ which have resulted in ‘slightly increased’ levels of uptake. The biggest driver of sign-ups, she says, has been access to bira benefits, including free legal advice.
So what sort of support can new members expect from the NAHS? McCracken summarizes the association’s actions as an ongoing commitment to protecting the interests of independent health stores. “NAHS are totally committed to promoting the interests of independent health stores going forward, as can be seen from our intervention to include health food stores as a key industry, allowing them to remain open throughout this crisis.
Our members have told us that they are far too busy to keep up to date with all of this information and rely on us to keep them updated
“But to enable us to have effective influence going forward we need as many members as possible. NAHS membership offers access to the comprehensive bira benefits package which includes free expert legal advice in employment law, HR and Health and Safety, bira negotiated business banking rates through HSBC, low cost auto-enrolment pensions scheme, access to business insurance tailored to suit retailers [and] access to preferential card processing rates. To help retailers have an on-line presence during this crisis, bira have teamed up with the UKs leading ecommerce provider to offer an on-line shop presence totally free for three months.”
“Every day since this crisis began, the Government and devolved administrations have issued updated information that affects businesses in one way or another. Our members have told us that they are far too busy to keep up to date with all of this information and rely on us to keep them updated. Several of our members have contacted us to thank us for our assistance during this crisis,” McCracken adds.
The free membership is available until 30 June, after which new members will be sent a renewal notice; they can then choose whether to renew or let their membership lapse, and no fees will be taken automatically. “We do hope that retailers will decide to continue with membership once they have seen and used the benefits we offer,” McCracken finishes.