AN events business set up to help independent retailers is hoping to accelerate its growth by winning free advertising in The Press.

Now and Then Events, which started out holding the York Does Vintage shopping fair and now holds shopping events all over the North of England, has entered The Press’s Local Business Accelerators campaign.

Businesses who also want to be in with a chance to win free advertising and mentoring support, have until Friday to enter the competition.

Alexandra Claydon and Samantha De La Tour joined forces in 2007 after inadvertantly arranging two different shopping events on the same day.

They now regularly attract thousands of customers to their vintage shopping events and have branched out into other towns and cities, developing new quality events, such as Yorkshire Best, featuring purely Yorkshire-made gifts and local produce.

Alex said: “We have already advertised with The Press in the past to help grow our footfall figures. We started at 700 people in 2011 and now see between 1,600 and 2,000 customers per event. The higher the footfall our events witness, the more likely our traders will sell and hence a higher profit margin for them.

“This is very important to us so we can continue to help local independent retailers in this economic climate.”

The company, which takes on interns from the local universities and uses its events to support charities including York children’s charity SNAPPY and the Alzeimers Society, was also shortlisted for Visit York’s Best Shopping Experience 2012.

York Does Vintage At Christmas will take place on December 2 in the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, while festive Yorkshire Best fairs will take place on December 9 in the Hospitium, York, and Masham Town Hall on December 15.

• To enter the Accelerators competition visit before Friday.

Shortlisted companies will go on to fight their cause in a pitching competition and three local winners will be chosen. One of these winners will also be put forward to compete in a national heat of the competition to win a year’s mentoring from Deborah Meaden of Dragon’s Den, £10,000 in cash and a package of other prizes.