Ministers unite to launch NI’s High Street Heroes

14 June 2022

Ministers unite to launch NIs High Street Heroes

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons, Retail NI President Peter McBride, Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts & Finance Minister Conor Murpy

The search to find Northern Ireland’s 2022 High Street Heroes was launched today in Stormont by Finance Minister Conor Murphy MLA and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons MLA The public online vote goes live on Monday 4th July 2022.

Speaking in a reception held in Parliament Buildings, both Ministers encouraged shoppers across the country to nominate the local retailers they feel should be rewarded for their tireless service to their community. This follows last year’s competition which saw a record-breaking number of votes cast across Northern Ireland.

Whether your High Street Hero is your favourite butcher, baker, or barista, the campaign is a celebration of the brilliant work of independent retailers and the pride they bring to local communities. Last year’s big winners included Belfast’s Ormeau Road as High Street of the Year and Crawford’s of Maghera picking up Retailer of the Year.

High Street Heroes NI is a joint campaign from Retail NI and Belfast Live supported by Camelot and Voice for Locals. Votes can be cast among 11 different categories with shoppers and customers asked to name their favourite convenience store, deli, butcher, or off-license, among others.

To give your local independent retailers the recognition they deserve place your vote at from 4th July 2022.


The High Street Heroes categories include:

  • Best Convenience Store

  • Best Coffee Shop

  • Best Healthcare Retailer

  • Best Fashion Retailer

  • Best Butcher

  • Best Deli

  • Best Homeware Retailer

  • Best Forecourt/Petrol station

  • Best Off Licence

  • High Street of The Year

  • Independent Retailer Employee of the Year

  • Overall Independent Retailer (chosen from the winners)


Finance Minister Conor Murphy MLA said:

“In recent months I have visited businesses from all retail sectors, and it is encouraging to see them rebuild after the pandemic.  The ability of independent retailers to survive and at times flourish in such difficult circumstances is truly remarkable and it’s right that we recognise and celebrate their achievements.

“The High Street is vital to our economy and I am pleased we have been able to support retailers through the extended rates holiday.  I hope the recent launch of my Department’s Back in Business incentive scheme will boost post pandemic footfall for all businesses, new and existing, and help restore the vibrancy of our local high streets as shoppers, tourists and workers return to the town centres.

“Today is about highlighting the contribution of retailers over the past couple of years in supporting their local communities and I would encourage everyone to get involved and vote for your favourite High Street Hero."

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons MLA said: 

“I was delighted to support last year’s High Street Heroes campaign and present the award of overall retailer of the year to Crawford’s of Maghera. Our High Streets and independent retailers provide the fabric and character of our local cities, towns, and villagers.” 

“Recently my Department asked everyone to support their local High Street with the Spend Local card following the impact of the pandemic on business and retail. Now we are asking you to vote for your favourite independent retailer and help to highlight their excellence in service and variety and quality in produce.”


Retail NI President, Peter McBride, said:

“We are delighted to launch High Street Heroes NI to highlight and celebrate the huge contribution independent retailers make to our local high streets and the economy. This year’s competition will give consumers the opportunity to give their favourite independent retailer and high street a much-needed boost amid such challenging trading conditions we are currently facing.”


Belfast Live Editor, Chris Sherrard, said:

“High Street Heroes is a campaign which really connects with people across Northern Ireland and we have followed it with interest for a number of years. I always felt it was a perfect fit for Belfast Live given our reach and demographic so it’s exciting to now be on board and to help launch this year’s awards. Good luck to all those in the running.”


Voice For Locals Founder, Jay Thattai, said:

“We are looking forward to sponsoring the Overall Independent Retailer of the year category. The Voice For Locals Initiative offers state of the art technology tools, marketing techniques and customer experience training for small firms, and it is set to digitise businesses across Northern Ireland.

We provide the digital tools for data driven business decisions and enable business owners to go digital with mobile apps, get marketed locally, get certified with e-learning courses endorsed by City & Guilds, and avail of personalised business and technology advice, to build a self-reliant economy in the wake of the pandemic”. 

Camelot Retail Director, Jenny Blogg, said:

“We are delighted to support High Street Heroes NI again this year to help highlight some of the excellent work Northern Ireland retailers continue to do in their communities. From small corner shops to local newsagents and well-stocked convenience stores, our 44,000 retail partners are the backbone of The National Lottery and have been for almost 28 years now, and their fantastic work has not gone unnoticed – especially over the last few years."


Click here to view the entry guidelines