Awards will become an annual attraction

Award winners and runners up.
Award winners and runners up.

AN awards scheme for top retailers will return next year.

The Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and Indoor Market Retail Awards have just been held for only the second time.

Shopping centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “Last year, the awards were very low key and held in our boardroom. This year, we decided to step it up a notch and make sure the awards were a little more professional in their delivery.”

He said they would return in 2014 and may become an evening attraction.

The winners told of their pride at picking up honours.

Jewellers Warren James lifted the retailer of the year title. Manager Mandy Thomas said: “It’s fantastic but I could not do this without the team.”

Sophie Stewart of River Island, which won the best window display category, said: “We put a lot of thought and effort into it. It is really nice to be awarded for that.”

The retailer star award went to Alison Usher of Bonmarche. Judges praised her work outside office hours, putting on fashion shows in care homes and for widows’ groups.

She said: “I am surprised but thrilled to bits to have won.”

Middleton Grange security co-ordinator Sean Eddy, who won Best Customer Service Experience (Centre Staff) as well as the centre staff star award, said: “It is really nice to get some recognition.”

Steve Dawking, who won the Merit award for working above the call of duty, said: “It is a bit of a surprise but it is nice to be appreciated.”

Hairpiece firm Faking It won the indoor market retailer of the year title. Spokesman Sophie Smith said: “I am really pleased to have won this.” Judges praised her work in supporting charities such as cancer research.

Elaine Henderson won the best customer service experience (retail) award for her firm Sally’s hair and beauty salon - described by the judges as “immaculate”.

She said: “It is fantastic and a real surprise to have won.”

Specsavers store director Ross Hutcheson picked up the Embrace award on behalf of his colleague Ian Walker. It is given to a retailer who works alongside the shopping centre to promote both the centre and their own business.

Ross said: “It is greatly unexpected but we work with the community and see the town centre as an important part of that.”