Co Down’s The Milestone comes top in Neighbourhood Retailer Awards 2015

Milestone Nisaextra has been crowned Retailer of the Year at the annual Neighbourhood Retailer Awards 2015, which took place at the Ramada Plaza, Shaw’s Bridge on Friday, October 16.

Now in its 17th year, the glittering gala awards evening is NI’s biggest annual celebration of local retail, and this time it was the turn of Milestone Nisaextra from Rathfriland, Co Down to not only earn the event’s most coveted accolade, but to take home the Deli of the Year title as well.

Commenting on his wins, Tom McAvoy from Milestone Nisaextra said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable to have won these awards. It was completely unexpected, and I’m quite shocked – it truly feels unreal.

“I consider winning these awards as a big success for the company, and we’ve worked very hard this year to reach the standard that we’ve achieved. I’m very thankful to all the staff at the Milestone.

“It’s been a big team effort, and I congratulate them on all their hard work – it has truly paid off!”

Eamon Holmes arrives at the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards 2015, pictured with model Ella Killen

Eamon Holmes arrives at the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards 2015, pictured with model
Ella Killen

The evening was a resounding success with retailers from across Northern Ireland uniting to celebrate their hard work. Hosted by much-loved television personality Eamonn Holmes, the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards recognise independent retailers who go above and beyond in their field, promoting excellence across the country.

The sponsor of the Retailer of the Year category was Imperial Tobacco, and their retail development coach, David Atkinson, told Neighbourhood Retailer: “We are very proud to have sponsored this award. It was a fantastic night, and it has been full of great stories from remarkable retailers.

“We congratulate Milestone Nisaextra on this tremendous achievement – they truly deserve it.”

Honoured for his stellar contribution to the industry was Jim Hughes, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015. Jim has enjoyed a retail career which spans almost 30 years, and the well-respected retailer shows no signs of slowing down.

After his win, he said: “This was completely unexpected, a huge surprise and it’s absolutely fantastic. I feel very humbled by this award. I’ve been surrounded a team of dedicated staff that work very hard, day-in-day-out, and I feel very honoured to have been chosen to receive this award. ”

Other notable wins during the evening included Applegreen Motorway Service Area M2 North, which won Newcomer of the Year, and Ian Elliott of SuperValu Ballymoney, who was the proud recipient of Store Manager of the Year for 2015.

Commenting on his win, Ian said: “It’s amazing to win this award. It’s really down to the great teamwork we have at Supervalu Ballymoney. They are the ones that make me look good, so a big congratulations has to go to them also!”

For the second year running, the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards charity partner was Cancer Fund for Children, who raised much-needed funds to support the care and comfort of children across Northern Ireland.

Earlier this week, Neighbourhood Retailer magazine revealed the retail sector in Northern Ireland was the country’s employment powerhouse, generating jobs for some 12 per cent of the overall workforce. It also revealed the industry was worth over £4 billion annually to the economy.

Bill Penton, publisher of Neighbourhood Retailer Magazine, praised the level of finalists for 2015. He said: “These awards are an integral to ensuring the standard of the retailing sector in Northern Ireland is at its very best, and 2015 introduced another year of high-calibre finalists who are dedicated to their field.

“Congratulations to our many winners, who have proven through their hard work and commitment that the independent retailing sector in Northern Ireland is a flourishing and vital area of the business sector.”

The Neighbourhood Retailer Awards were supported once again by leaders in their respective fields, such as Imperial Tobacco, JTI, Nestle Professional, Cuisine de France, Pay Point, United Wine Merchants, Sales Placement, Costa Express, PRM, Philip Morris, CPUK, Portglenone Refrigeration Services, and Note Machine – who were all category sponsors on the evening.

And the winners were:

Jonathan Crawford; John Boland from sponsor Andrew Ingredients Ltd and Denvir Watterson, Crawford’s

Jonathan Crawford; John Boland from sponsor Andrew Ingredients Ltd and Denvir Watterson, Crawford’s

Martin Mawhinney, Brian McKenna; Mark McAuley and Derek Gallagher from sponsor Spices Nice

Martin Mawhinney, Brian McKenna; Mark McAuley and Derek Gallagher from sponsor Spices Nice

Hugh Smyth, Smyth’s with Karen Murray from sponsor Philip Morris

Hugh Smyth, Smyth’s with Karen Murray from sponsor Philip Morris

Liz Toner; Bill Penton; Lesley Groves, Mark Hargadon from sponsor Cuisine De France; Mark Haughey, Joanne Gilmore, John McCartney and Karen Brannigan

Liz Toner; Bill Penton; Lesley Groves, Mark Hargadon from sponsor Cuisine De France; Mark Haughey, Joanne Gilmore, John McCartney and Karen Brannigan

Stephen Kelly, Costa Ireland Ltd with Lesley Hutchinson and Claire Greenwood, Centra Magherafelt

Stephen Kelly, Costa Ireland Ltd with Lesley Hutchinson and Claire Greenwood, Centra Magherafelt

David Miskimmon from Brackenvale with Peter Jackson, from sponsor JTI

David Miskimmon from Brackenvale with Peter Jackson, from sponsor JTI

Amy Kerr, McMullan’s’ Tara Craig from Cactus Pr and Martin Kerr

Gillian Hunter from EUROSPAR Ranfurly with Seamus Magill, managing director of category sponsor Portglenone Refrigeration Services

Grainne Hughes, Jim Hughes, Noreen Hughes and Michael Stewart from sponsor PRM

Grainne Hughes, Jim Hughes, Noreen Hughes and Michael Stewart from sponsor PRM

Mark Scally, Mantas Ambraziejus, from Applegreen M2 MSA; Darren Massey from sponsor Philip Morris; Gareth Bellew and Conor Lucey, Applegreen M2 MSA

Mark Scally, Mantas Ambraziejus, from Applegreen M2 MSA; Darren Massey from sponsor Philip Morris; Gareth Bellew and Conor Lucey, Applegreen M2 MSA

Kenny Bradley and Rose McDonald from Kenny’s; Robert Barkley from sponsor United Wine Merchants; Liz Galloway and Mason Henry, Kenny’s Spar

Kenny Bradley and Rose McDonald from Kenny’s; Robert Barkley from sponsor United Wine Merchants; Liz Galloway and Mason Henry, Kenny’s Spar

Amy Kerr, McMullan’s’ Tara Craig from Cactus Pr and Martin Kerr

Amy Kerr, McMullan’s’ Tara Craig from Cactus Pr and Martin Kerr

Glyn Roberts from NIIRTA, Tom McAvoy, David Atkinson from sponsor Imperial Tobacco, and Neighbourhood Retailer publisher Bill Penton

Glyn Roberts from NIIRTA, Tom McAvoy, David Atkinson from sponsor Imperial Tobacco, and Neighbourhood Retailer publisher Bill Penton

Brian Donaldson, Maxol; Peter McCool, The Phoenix; Sonia Bentley, Nestle Cereals; Kevin McKillough, The Phoenix

Brian Donaldson, Maxol; Peter McCool, The Phoenix; Sonia Bentley, Nestle Cereals; Kevin McKillough, The Phoenix

Grainne Hughes, Steve Bryan from sponsor Notemachine, and James Hughes

Grainne Hughes, Steve Bryan from sponsor Notemachine, and James Hughes

Bill Penton, Paul Stewart, Anne Stewart and Dave Allan from sponsor Nestle Professional

Bill Penton, Paul Stewart, Anne Stewart and Dave Allan from sponsor Nestle Professional

Ian Elliott from SuperValu Ballymoney with June Wilson, Sales Placement

Ian Elliott from SuperValu Ballymoney with June Wilson, Sales Placement

Susan Dalzell, Paypoint; Linda McCormick, Spar Crawfordsburn; Kerry McMonagle, Paypoint

Susan Dalzell, Paypoint; Linda McCormick, Spar Crawfordsburn; Kerry McMonagle, Paypoint

Peter McCool, Ian Elliott, Jordan Christie, all SuperValu, Ballymoney; Michael Flannigan, Flannigan, Edmonds, Bannon; Nikita Millan, Neil Harbinson and Mandy Mair, all from The Phoenix.

Peter McCool, Ian Elliott, Jordan Christie, all SuperValu, Ballymoney; Michael Flannigan, Flannigan, Edmonds, Bannon; Nikita Millan, Neil Harbinson and Mandy Mair, all from The Phoenix.

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