Personal service is oft quoted as the thing that sets independent retailers apart from the ’faceless’ grocery multiples, and that’s certainly true at David Charman’s Parkfoot Garage in West Malling, Kent where customers are definitely ’king’.
David says the company strives to look after its staff, many of whom have been with the firm for decades, and they in turn strive to look after their customers.
Describing the Best Customer Service award as the "most rewarding prize he’s ever won", David says: "During our recent refit we put all our staff through Spar academy training.
"For some, it was the first time they’d had any training for some time so it was a really enlightening experience for them.
"We are committed to providing a safe working environment and rewarding quality and absence-free employment.
"Our staff are keen to do a good job and winning the Customer Service award was a definite fillip for them."
Best design and development - sponsored by Harvest Energy
Fraser’s Retail made a bold move in deciding to build a new forecourt directly opposite a Tesco store in Marlborough. But the challenge was not just from the supermarket giant, but from the site itself. The firm decided to follow the contours of the Tesco store, which meant the land was approximately three metres below the main road so there was concern about whether passing drivers would see the site.
This was overcome by careful location of the pole sign and use of a curved canopy. Then there was the problem of making the retaining walls look attractive.
This was achieved by using a timber-effect cladding system, along with landscaped banking.
The results including the smart c-store with distinctive fresh and ambient areas, Subway, car washes and parking area are simply stunning.
best environmentally Friendly outlet - sponsored by Wilcomatic
For Susie Hawkins, director of Budgens of Daventry owner The Simon Smith Group, being environmentally friendly is not just a "nice thing to do", it’s all part of respecting your environment.
She says: "For us, sustainability means living up to the core responsibilities that any good business should have to look after its staff and customers, to minimise its impact on the environment and to produce sustainable wealth so that it benefits all its stakeholders in the long term and is not just for short-term gain. Above all, it’s about making a positive contribution to people’s lives to their communities and to society as a whole."
At Budgens of Daventry, environmentally friendly innovations include fridges on chiller doors (complete with signage to tell customers about energy saving); use of super-efficient LED lighting; an energy-efficient refrigeration condenser pack; and a borehole to provide a sustainable water source for car washing.