Make this year YOUR year and enter the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards

Neighbourhood Retailer Awards

Milestone Nisa Extra Rathfriland has been crowned Neighbourhood Retailer of the Year three times. Here, the store explains what winning such an esteemed title has done for their business.

“Winning Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Retailer of the Year was an amazing boost to Milestone. It literally put us on the map, allowing customers from far and wide to become aware of our brand, and product range, follow us on social media, and more importantly reinforce this with visits to our store.

“Staff morale was boosted immensely with employees proud to work here, taking ownership of their own specific department and with determination bringing it even further to its full potential. It ensured our staff were recognised for a job well done. At a time when there was a shortage of staff in the industry, we did not experience problems recruiting and retaining staff. Winning the award gave us a status within the industry.

“Customers also felt they have been part of the win. They have been loyal to Milestone from when it was a small store, through the development to what it is today. We have listened to the needs of the customer in this process and have tried to give the customer what they wanted and more, introducing innovative products throughout the journey. Customers continually ask us about the awards and help market our store further through their good word of mouth as well as following and liking our posts on social media.

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“Winning allowed us to network with the best in the game, and in turn, it gave us the confidence to look at the underlying issues relating to retailing, bringing our business from a small, quite often disorganised unit, to a more professional organisation, where systems and procedure have been implemented and followed. We are always learning and trying to prefect the way we do things but winning gave us a ‘pat on the back’ for where we had travelled to and a new incentive to go forward with an inner determination to do even better in the future. It gave us great confidence to try new things, introduce new products and look at retailing in a more innovative and exciting way hoping to further reinforce perfection.

“Winning the title made us known to many within the industry, from both within Northern Ireland, to Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. As a consequence Tom McAvoy was invited to become a member of an esteemed retail group, involved in looking at retailing in the wider field throughout the world. We have been involved in study tours visiting retail outlets worldwide, including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Australia, as well as UK tours. Talking to others in the group also allowed us to learn from the best and share ideas and promote good retailing.

“Now that we have won Neighbourhood Retailer of the Year, it is important that we continue to promote and retain staff – the great staff that has brought us to this level of achievement. Therefore we invest heavily in training and rewarding staff to ensure they remain top of their game and top of the field.

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“Winning Retailer of the Year has rubber stamped our achievements to date and reinforces the value of our team recognising their marvellous achievements.

“The status that winning has brought us means no day is the same as the last one. We have been asked to appear on BBC TV regarding retailing. Our store has been widely recognised in local and national press. And we have featured widely in trade magazines. We have had radio interviews on retailing issues and now sit on several committees relating to retailing. We have visitors to our store from far and wide and our staff are always happy to assist in helping other retailers, exchanging ideas and methods to ensure the retail experience in Northern Ireland continues to excel.

“We love our day -to-day activity within retailing with the variety and opportunities that winning Neighbourhood Retailer of the Year has brought with it.”

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