Shoppers embrace new retail awards

Middleton Grange Embrace Awards ' (left to right) Dawn Sorovic, of Kosa Hairdressers; Mandy Thomas, of Warren James jewelers; and Yvonne Plaice, of Sally salon services.

Middleton Grange Embrace Awards ' (left to right) Dawn Sorovic, of Kosa Hairdressers; Mandy Thomas, of Warren James jewelers; and Yvonne Plaice, of Sally salon services.

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HUNDREDS of customers have backed a shopping centre’s first ever awards scheme by voting for their favourite stores.

Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, in Hartlepool, has launched The Embrace Retail Awards to recognise outstanding retail experience and customer service.

Hundreds of people have already nominated their favourite store, window display or employee.

And the stores themselves are embracing the awards as a great way to celebrate what Middleton Grange – which is managed by Cushman & Wakefield – has to offer.

Hairdresser Dawn Sorovic, who has managed the Kosa salon in the centre for 11 years, said: “A lot of our customers just come in here for their haircut and don’t go on to shop in the centre.

“So we have really been encouraging them to have a look around because there are some really good shops.”

Mandy Thomas, manager of Warren James Jewellers, said the awards helped to promote good customer service.

“People really appreciate good service and we are a store that puts a lot of emphasis on that,” she said.

The awards are open to shops of all sizes from the large department stores to independent retailers and traders from the Market Hall.

They will be awarded across six categories: retailer of the year, market hall stall holder of the year, shop and window display of the year, shopping centre employee award (nominated by shopping centre staff) and the shooting star award (nominated by retailers).

Another store which has seen a flood of nominations from shoppers is Sally’s Salon Services.

Manager Yvonne Plaice said: “The Embrace Awards have been a morale boost for our staff and Middleton Grange.

“It’s good for staff to get some recognition for their hard work and service and it means we’ve got more involvement with Middleton Grange. It makes us feel like we are all a part of something positive.”

Shoppers have from now until Monday, September 17, to make their nominations ahead of an awards ceremony on October 16.

Retailers with the most nominations will be shortlisted, mystery shopped and then judged by an independent panel.

A £100 gift card is also on offer to one lucky shopper selected at random from all of the nominations that are received.

To register your vote in The Embrace Awards, visit the customer service desk at Middleton Grange to collect an entry form.