Record entry for Reading Retail Awards
July 10, 2012
A record number of entries has been received for this year’s Reading Retail Awards.
More shoppers and diners than ever have been inspired to put forward their favourite shops and eateries for some well-deserved recognition.
Judges will be sitting down today to sort through 3,477 customer and 58 business nominations and draw up a shortlist.
Stephanie Maynard, from organiser The Event Crew, said: “We’re ecstatic about the way people have responded this year. The number of customer award nominations is three times as many as last year, which is quite incredible.
“I think more and more retailers are supporting the awards themselves because, when you look at the list of who’s been nominated, there are definitely new additions.”
Long-established stores such as Specsavers and BHS have featured heavily for the first time, along with new kids on the block such as Yog, in The Oracle, and retailers in district centres, including Caversham and Tilehurst.
The response does mean the judges are going to have their work cut out. Ms Maynard said: “The five judges will sit down in a room with thousands of nominations in front of them and sift through them and decide which ones they are going to visit.
“They won’t necessarily be ringing beforehand to announce they are coming and might not identify themselves when they get there, but they will be popping in to substantiate claims made over the next 10 days.”
The judges are:
- Shalina Alabaksh – director of a retail consultancy business and senior master trainer for various programmes, including the Mary Portas Guide to Successful Retailing.
- Miriam Braham – director of marketing and customer service at Reading College.
- Fiona Brownfoot – leading retail and leisure property specialist with Hicks Baker.
- Richard Byard – economic development manager at Reading UK CIC.
- Bernard Ferris – head of shopping centre management at Colliers International and former centre director of Festival Place in Basingstoke.
Two top chefs will be judging the Lovely Lunch category and the much sought-after Restaurant of the Year award, which was previously part of Pride of Reading.
TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson, who owns The Greyhound in Rotherfield Peppard, and Daniel Galmiche, formerly of l’ortolan in Shinfield and now of the Vineyard at Stockcross, will be visiting the shortlisted venues over the next three weeks.