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About Us

Indie York’s (York Independent Business Association) is a not-for-profit association. Its inception came about after York was seriously affected by floods on Boxing Day, 2015. Instigated by our first chairman, Johnny Hayes, it was an initial reaction to support York’s huge variety of independent businesses through a difficult time; the aim being to raise awareness of the wealth of wonderful independents in our city. Established in 2016, Indie York started with 30 businesses, has now grown to over 200 and we’re very happy to say that we’re still growing. It’s these shops, restaurants, stalls, cafes and other businesses mixed with the city’s historic sights and quirky streets that make York such a unique place to live, work and visit.

Indie York brings these businesses together to support them and help them grow and thrive. Our website, social media and paper map provide a useful guide for residents, tourists and students; showcasing York’s unique alternatives to the usual high street names. Every business is a star in its own right.

York is also known for its indie ‘quarters’ such as the Fossgate, Swinegate Latin quarter, The Shambles, Micklegate and Bishy Road as well as the ‘Fifth Quarter’ which includes Bootham and Gillygate businesses. We hope the Indie York map and website will be a great starting point to help you discover and share the huge range of extraordinary businesses; from specialist shops and cosy cafés, to eclectic galleries and world-class restaurants in York.

Our association is run by our volunteer Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and a team of volunteers who make up our Steering Committee as well as our paid part-time Administrator who oversees the day to day running of Indie York. The Steering Committee are all members of Indie York, some long standing and some new, they cover all sectors and locations in the city.    

Rebecca Hill Committee Member Chairperson

Rebecca Hill - Chair

Rebecca and her partner own Galtres Lodge and its Forest restaurant on Low Petergate.  Indie York members since they took on the business in October 2018, and joining the steering committee after helping develop the new Indie York website. Rebecca was voted in as the new Chairperson in February 2021, after founding Chairman, Johnny Hayes stepped down. They were very big shoes to fill, but the support for independent businesses is huge, and as a steering committee we are a strong and diverse group of volunteers who are all dedicated to promoting Indie York and its member businesses. 

Andy Masheder Committee Member

Andy Masheder - Treasurer

Andy is the Indie York Treasurer. Owner of Monk Bar Model Shop, a family-owned independent model shop established in 1963 and still trading from the same location just inside Monk Bar. Monk Bar Models is a founding member of Indie York and proud to be one of the many independent businesses trading in York.

Andrew Lowson Committee Member

Andrew Lowson - Committee Member

Andrew began his career undertaking commercial master planning and project management within the aviation and rail sectors. From this he worked in the area of economic development for a government agency before becoming Managing Director of a York based events company, where he helped double turnover and expanded operations into the south of the UK. Andrew was appointed as Executive Director of the York BID due to his experience of running a small business alongside his understanding of working with multiple stakeholders on economic improvement programmes; not to mention his passion for York. Andrew has been a member of the Indie York Steering Committee since our inception in 2016.

Polly Bennett - Committee Member

Polly Bennett runs Little Vikings, an independent, influential print and online guide to the best of York (and beyond) for kids. A mother of three, Polly founded the business in 2013 to help local and visiting families discover the best of family-friendly York through the Little Vikings print guides, website, newsletter, annual awards and social media channels.

Polly is the Indie York Services Sector Champion and shares the marketing coordinator role with Rebecca. 

Rupert Harrison Committee Member

Rupert Harrison - Committee Member

Rupert Harrison is the hairy one behind the York based Black Yak brand.  After a career in agriculture and computers he finally saw the light and started Black Yak as a Fair-Trade clothing and accessories business importing hand knitted woollens from Nepal.  He is a proudly independent York retailer and wholesaler and has been trading at York market and St Nicholas Christmas fair for the past 25 years. 

Rupert uses his experience of fairs, markets and exhibitions to work on events with Indie York. 

Rachel Bean - Committee Member

Rachel is the Project Manager at York Business Improvement District (BID), looking after the BID’s cultural and arts projects. Curator of the York Mural Trail, Rachel is passionate about championing York’s unique spirit and identity, wearing her Indie York badge with pride. Rachel spearheads initiatives that transform York’s city centre into a thriving hub for independent businesses, vibrant culture, and captivating public spaces.

Rachel is an Indie York events champion.

Charlotte Watson - Committee Member

Charlotte is passionate about independent business, networking and events in the city to help grow and support small businesses in our community.

Charlotte has her own independent consultancy, ‘ Beyond the Business’  where she helps small companies recruit talent for their teams, market their business with social media management or social media training .