UPDATE (August 12th): The Approved PC Retail Network has sent an update to PCR, saying it now has 50 paid members (some with multiple stores). A few more are awaiting approval.
"We have managed to get all 50 members since just Sunday night at 10pm," said Philip Griffiths from Chips Computers.
The collective charges members £15 a month or £150 to join. It also has a founder's offer of £75 for the first year, which is valid until the end of August.
Dan Dollin of Bude Computers Ltd originally launched the collective and its Facebook group around a year ago, and acquired its domain.
Original story (published August 10th):
A new PC dealer collective has emerged and has already attracted several High Street indie retailers to its cause.
The Approved PC Retail Network was set up about a year ago. It started life as a Facebook group for indie PC retailers to chat, share supplier deals, discuss problems and come together to find solutions to the issues indies face, such as competing with multiples like PC World.
Since then, the project has grown, with the group now negotiating better deals with suppliers and launching a 'find your local store'-type website, similar to Synaxon's TrustATec, which also allows end users to find local IT services and dealers in their area.
The Approved PC Retail Network has been developed by around ten indies collectively, including Philip Griffiths from Chips Computers - one of PCR's High Street Heroes.
"It's a very lively group with incredibly good UK coverage," Griffiths told PCR.
"We've been able to negotiate custom deals with some suppliers like free shipping etc. We've also opened avenues to work closely with manufacturers to increase support available to retailers.
"We actually found that a lot of the issues are universal, no matter where you are. We've all experienced problems with suppliers, occasional issues with customers etc, so sometimes it almost feels like a support group!"
Griffiths says the group is in the process of creating a public website, where users can find their local store via a simple postcode search.
"They'll see a breif selection of services available and be able to contact the store directly from there - or go to their website for more details," Griffiths added.
"Our website will have a small monthly fee to join, but the bulk of that money will be spent on Google Adwords, Facebook Ad campaigns as well as hopefully some traditional press.
"We differ from similar sites because it's run solely for the benefit of the individual members, whereas some are based on a generic formula and just function to make the site owner money."
Griffiths explained that all money made from membership goes back in to the Approved PC Retail Network.
"No one gets paid, other than us getting more customers," he said.