Hartlepool businesses are top of the shops

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A SPARKLING awards ceremony saw retailers and staff at a Hartlepool shopping complex commended for their work.

The Middleton Grange Shopping Centre Awards recognised retailers and individuals with seven commendations at the event held at Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street.

Middleton Grange Shopping Centre manager Mark Rycraft with award winning Galleries staff (left to right) Ali Flounders, Abbie Stabler, Tracy Skinner and Robert Hall.

Middleton Grange Shopping Centre manager Mark Rycraft with award winning Galleries staff (left to right) Ali Flounders, Abbie Stabler, Tracy Skinner and Robert Hall.

The awards, voted for by shoppers, honoured workers in the centre in various categories, including for good 
customer service and for excellent merchandising initiatives, such as eye-catching window displays.

The event was set up three years ago, during the economic downturn, to provide a boost to staff morale at a time when footfall and trade were all low.

Once the top shops were shortlisted, centre bosses sent a fleet of mystery-shoppers into the stores to gauge who the winners should be.

Mark Rycraft, centre manager, said: “This year was the best year so far.

Andrew Allison(left) with his assistant Ron Breward at the awards that were held at the Hartlepool College of Further Education.

Andrew Allison(left) with his assistant Ron Breward at the awards that were held at the Hartlepool College of Further Education.

“Fourteen retailers and eight individuals were recognised on the night for all of their hard work.

“We had over 2,000 nominations which was enormous for us, with 61 retailers being voted for and 120 votes also for centre staff.”

He added: “It was a real good atmosphere and a fantastic turn-out as well.”

There was also an extra special accolade, the Centre Manager’s Special Recognition Award, which went to centre volunteer Andrew Allison, who suffers 
with learning difficulties and carries out a number of duties for 
Mr Rycraft and other members of staff.

The winners:

THE list of winners on the night were:

•Favourite Store - Roman and BHS

•Favourite Market Hall Stall - Make Up Box, Steve Ryan and Young One

•Favourite Window - BHS, Faking It, and TJ Hughes

•Best Customer Service Store - The Galleries and Make up Box

•Customer Service for Middleton Grange l Shopping Centre staff - Adam Goodwin and Michael Gray

l•Special Recognition Award - Andrew Allison

•Embrace Award - Specsavers