SLIDESHOW: Top honours for top Hartlepool shops

THE very best in Hartlepool’s shops have been rewarded for providing the ultimate in customer experiences.

A breakfast-time awards ceremony was held yesterday for the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and Indoor Market Retail Awards.

Award winners and runners up.

Award winners and runners up.

Over coffee and pastries at the Grand Hotel, everyone from store staff to the centre’s own workers picked up prizes.

More than 70 retailers and workers were nominated and 750 customers voted for their favourites.

Those with the highest votes were visited by a mystery shopper whose feedback was put to a panel of judges before the results were decided.

Middleton Grange Shopping Centre manager Mark Rycraft presented the honours.

Sophie Stewart of River Island with Mark Rycraft of Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

Sophie Stewart of River Island with Mark Rycraft of Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

He told the Hartlepool Mail: “The calibre of the entries has been incredibly high. The mystery shopper reported very positive results which demonstrates that people are taking customer service really seriously.”

The winners included Middleton Grange security co-ordinator Sean Eddy who had his long hair chopped off to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and raised £1,500. He received the trophy for Best Customer Service Experience (Centre Staff).

Fellow security worker Steve Dawking picked up the Merit Award for working above the call of duty by helping customers with their baggage.

And Retailer of the Year went to jewellery shop Warren James for its attractive frontage and building up a rapport with customers.

Other worthy recipients also collected their prizes of a plaque and bottle of wine.

They were;

• Best window display - River Island. Highly commended - BHS and Warren James.

• Best customer service experience (retail) - Elaine Henderson of Sally’s hair and beauty salon.

• Best customer service experience (centre staff) - Sean Eddy.

• Centre staff star award - Sean Eddy.

• Retailer star award - Alison Usher of Bonmarche.

• Embrace award - Ian walker of Specsavers.

• Merit award - Steve Dawking.

• Indoor market retailer of the year - Faking It.

• Retailer of the year - Warren James. Highly commended - Sally’s and Specsavers.