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Beechwood Retail Awards 2010

Excellence is rewarded at the Beechwood Shopping Centre with its first annual awards ceremony. crack

It was congratulations and thumbs up all round at The Queen’s Hotel, Cheltenham as Beechwood Shopping Centre celebrated its inaugural Retailer Awards presentations.

The Centre’s awards ceremony and get-together, for retailers, their staff and guests, was acclaimed an unqualified success and everyone expressed the hope that it would become an annual event in the Beechwood calendar.

The presentation evening went on until midnight as revellers celebrated and even those who didn’t pick up a prize this year said it was a brilliant evening, well worth repeating, and added that they had been given an incentive to do better in 2011.

It was probably summed up best by Candles and More Manager Sarah Duffton, a cheerleader on one of the tables in the brightly but tastefully decorated Regency Room in the hotel, who said: “I think it was an absolutely brilliant evening. Everyone really enjoyed getting together and it gave us all a chance to meet staff from other shops which we don’t get time to do when we are all so busy at work. We should definitely do it again and I’m sure even more people will want to come along next year. It was a great incentive for everyone.”

The awards were the brainchild of Beechwood Centre Manager Owen Acland, who took over the role at the beginning of 2010, claiming from the outset that he wanted to recognise and reward the hard work, loyalty, dedication and customer service provided by retailers and staff throughout the year.

He said he wanted the Centre to show its appreciation for all the efforts by the retailers in helping Beechwood have a successful year, particularly during such a difficult economic climate, both locally and nationally.

Mr Acland welcomed nearly 100 Beechwood tenants, staff and guests to the presentation evening, which included a buffet, drinks and disco entertainment and an opportunity for staff to mix and mingle with colleagues and neighbouring retailers.

Ticket sales helped to raise over £400 in aid of Cheltenham’s National Star College, the Centre’s chosen charity for 2010.

He thanked everyone who gave their support before and during the event, particularly the Centre’s administrator Rose Hyde, who helped with much of the planning and organisation, and Star FM compere Joe Lemer, who made the evening go with a swing.

He also praised all the retailers and the staff for their support and for getting into the spirit of the occasion with such enthusiasm.

A special thank you also went out to the guests who gave up their time to present the awards – Cheltenham Town Centre Manager Martin Quantock; Pauline Bucknall, proprietor of the Centre’s PR and marketing partners PRPlus Media; Richard Wright, the Centre’s Facilities Manager; James Neal, editor of The Cheltonian; and Sarah Louise Moore, Area Manager of Westgrove, the Centre’s security and cleaning contractors.

Engraved trophies were presented to seven category winners with Rise Records picking up three of the accolades.

The music, film and book store was voted the Best Independent Retailer and the store making the Best Contribution to Marketing/Promotions together with the night’s main trophy of Beechwood’s Retailer of the Year.

Store manager Ben Hughes, who received the trophy from Mr Acland, said he was ‘chuffed to bits’ and said he was proud to receive the award which was recognition of the hard work put in by all the staff.

The Centre’s Favourite Store, voted for by the public, went to Debenhams with the Best Window Presentations, voted by the tenants and public, going to The Jewellery Stop.

The award for Best Customer Service, also voted by the public, went to the Disney Store.

An award voted for by tenants for Beechwood’s top employee for politeness and helpfulness went to Mark Driscoll, Supervisor of the Centre’s security team.

A special award was also made by contractors Westgrove who voted the Beechwood security team and cleaners as the best team within their company for 2010.

Even those retailers who left empty handed on the night heaped on the awards’ success.

Cathy Hunter, manager of Evans ladies’ fashion store, said she had spoken to people who worked in Beechwood who she had not met before and said the fact they did not win a prize this year had made them determined to return and do better next year.

Shops which achieved more than 80 percent in a survey by four Mystery Shoppers who visited the centre in September, were awarded certificates.

They were: Destination Skin (95 percent); Jewellery Stop (92.5 percent); Western Computer (87.5 percent); Departures (87.5 percent); Candles & More; Silver Mine; Vision Express ( all 82.5%).

Mr Acland said he had received so many requests to organise a similar event next year and was delighted it all went so well.

He added: “I think it was a great social occasion that gave everyone the chance to let their hair down after a very busy year and provide a boost and incentive to come back and win an award next year.”