Race is on for Reading Retail AwardsBy David Millward
April 03, 2012
A candle shop and kitchenware store are among the first two businesses put forward for this year’s Reading Retail Awards.
Shoppers responded immediately to the launch of the third annual contest to reward their favourite shops and cafes across the borough.
Royals boss Sir John Madejski hosted the opening of the 2012 awards with leading businessmen and women showing their support.
Steve Fawke, manager of the Broad Street Mall, officially declared the competition open last Friday.
He said: “This is not restricted to town centre retailers.
“Last year we had winners from Caversham and retailers nominated from Tilehurst and Caversham.
“There are so many people working in shops in Reading who consistently give good service and I can’t think of a better way to reward that great service.”
A finalist from last year, Yankee Central, in Broad Street Mall, was one of the first shops to be nominated for the 2012 contest, along with the Lakeland store in The Oracle.
There were 1,100 nominations last year and 240 people attended the awards ceremony at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre.
Steve Belam, manager of The Oracle, said shop managers and staff now take the retail awards very seriously.
He said: “I think they are hugely important.
“You can tell by the way the awards are received that people are very proud to win and there is tremendous disappointment when they don’t get it.”
Nick Hewer, from TV’s The Apprentice, handed out 14 gongs to the successful nominees at last year’s glitzy awards ceremony.
Winners included Jennings Butchers, in Caversham, John Lewis, in Broad Street, Bill’s Cafe, in Chain Street, while the overall retailer of the year was the Smelly Alley Fish Company, in Union Street.
Customers can submit nominations in four categories of the Retail Awards.
They are: My Favourite Coffee Shop, The Lovely Lunch, Service With a Smile and The Shop I Can’t Live Without.
Businesses can nominate in the following categories: Promotional Initiative of the Year, Independent Retailer of the Year, Multiple Retailer of the Year, Store Design and Environment of the Year, Shooting Star, Store Manager of the Year and Learner of the Year.
Nomination forms can be picked up from shops and handed in at the information desks at the Broad Street Mall and The Oracle.
Alternatively, nominations can be made on line at the website www.readingretailawards.co.uk.
The closing date for entries is Monday, July 2, and one lucky shopper will pick up a £500 prize.