Have you got what it takes to be the 2023 Retailer of the Year?
The top award at the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards is the Retailer of the Year title, singling out the cream of the crop of Northern Ireland’s independent retailers.
A pinnacle for local retailers, the award signifies a benchmark of success, and is a wonderful morale boost for the entire team.
Selected from the top performers in the previous categories, the Retailer of the Year criteria focuses on a number of key areas:
* The quality and extent of the services and facilities provided by the store.
* Staff development and investment in training and development to enable staff to deliver business success.
* Customer care and community support – evidence that the store takes customer care seriously and is always striving to improve.
* Competitive edge, innovation, and ability to respond successfully to challenges.
Judges are looking for business excellence in all aspects of running a retail store that has differentiated itself from the competition with a unique approach creating an outstanding customer experience every visit.
The 2022 Retailer of the Year Award went to McCullagh’s Classic Omagh, with brothers and business partners Jonathan and Terry McCullagh on-hand to collect their prestigious gold plaque.
Describing the win as a “huge honour” Jonathan said it was particularly special to win it in their 30th year in business.
Having also took Food to Go Store of the Year and Forecourt of the Year Category 2 at last year’s awards, Jonathan said the wins were “testament to the high standards and exceptional levels of service” the team at McCullagh’s delivers on a daily basis.
“It’s reward for everyone’s efforts over many years. Everyone likes to win and it’s generated a feel-good factor within the store, which is priceless,” added Jonathan.
One of the most successful Neighbourhood Retailer Award winners is Milestone Nisaextra Rathfriland, who have claimed the Retailer of the Year title three times.
Co-owner Ann McAvoy said there are several benefits to entering the NR Awards, adding that it allows you to look more objectively and critically at your business, encouraging you to generate ideas for potential improvement.
“Being shortlisted and winning helps to elevate your business and endorse the quality of your product and services,” said Ann.
“Winning is a great boost for staff morale, improves motivation and encourages pride in your work. Winning helps tremendously with brand awareness. It elevates the quality and standard of your product range and customer service.
“It gives you confidence to market your business in an innovative way and in turn will most definitely increase footfall and turnover for your business. With so many benefits – you cannot afford not to enter.”
In 2019, JC Stewarts Foodhall in Magherafelt claimed the Retailer of the Year title, the second time they were awarded the top award, having previously secured the title for their Eurospar in Moneymore.
Co-owner Pearce Kelly said winning the “confidence of the customer base” was important, adding that the staff were “an integral part of the process”, with these core ingredients coming together to make the winning mix.
Store manager, Gary McCulloch was also singled out for praise, with his natural rapport with shoppers and staff highlighted.