From left: Top row, Martin Shipley (Who-ray), Brian Burr (Who-ray), Tom Butchart (Sound It Out Records), Dan Hirst (Debenhams) Bottom row, Dinah Kapouas (Kaminaki), Jenny Spencer (Debenhams), Sue O'Hagan (So Jammy) and Tracy Hart (Chocs Away)
TOWN centre businesses across Stockton are celebrating after being crowned winners of Stockton Council’s first Town Centre Business Awards.
The winners of the awards, which recognise trading excellence among the borough’s town centre businesses, all clinched a £250 prize at a ceremony at Stockton Town Hall.
Nearly 400 members of the public voted for their Town Centre Business of the Year. Sound It Out Records, on Yarm Street in Stockton, received the most votes to take the title.
The independent record shop gained a whole host of supportive comments from their customers.
They included: “Tom Butchart’s great service, enthusiasm, perseverance, knowledge of his products and empathy for his customers is second to none!” and: “A truly amazing independent store - their product knowledge is almost encyclopaedic and the customer service is truly first class”.
A panel of expert judges, including North-east retail expert Christine Kavanagh, who fronts Retail Skills Shops which deliver Mary Portas Retail Master classes to businesses, local retail analyst Graham Soult and leader of Stockton Council, Councillor Bob Cook, met to determine the winners of the remaining categories.
Cllr Cook said: “It was particularly exciting to see so many strong entries from the independent sector.
“ These businesses are really helping our borough’s town centres stand out from the crowd and offer something different to other town centres throughout the North-east.”
The judges’ deliberations resulted in the following businesses being awarded five highly-deserved awards:
Eatery of the Year - Kaminaki Greek Taverna , Church Road, in Stockton.
Independent Retailer of the Year - Who-Ray, an independent gift and memorabilia shop on Silver Street, in Stockton.
Market Trader of the Year - So Jammy, a jam, chutney, mustard and salad dressing retailer which regularly trades from Stockton’s Farmers’ Markets.
National Chain of the Year - Debenhams in Wellington Square, Stockton.
Newcomer of the Year - Chocs Away, a traditional chocolates and sweet shop on Silver Street.