So you think you’re a top retailer? Then get your pens and cameras out now and start filling in the forms and taking the pictures that will put you in the running for the top award in the petrol retailing industry - Forecourt Trader of the Year.
The awards are in their 12th year, and the list of winners is long and distinguished - with many of them continuing to push their businesses to the limit, and by so doing making themselves eligible to win again.
Since their launch in 1996, the Forecourt Trader Awards have been dedicated to recognising and encouraging the hard work and skills of petrol retailers nationwide, highlighting those who have displayed high standards of professionalism in a fiercely competitive sector.
== CASH PRIZE ==
To be chosen as Forecourt Trader of the Year is the highest accolade for any petrol retailer. It is recognition of entrepreneurial skill, imagination and dedication in running a successful business. Not only that, but there is a cash prize of £3,000 for the overall winner of Forecourt Trader of the Year.
== REWARDS ==
All finalists are invited to the awards dinner as part of an all-expenses paid James Bond-themed night out at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel, London, on Thursday, September 25, 2008. It gives you the chance to mix with many people in the industry - retailers, oil company executives and suppliers - and, as many will testify, is a great night out.
== AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN ==
Whether you are an independent dealer with a large chain, or a small rural site; a franchisee in a main road location; or a manager on a company-owned site, there is a category for you. Groupings are by type of operation:
? Main route
We also identify sites by ownership status, to cover:
? Oil company/supermarket-owned and managed
? Oil company-owned/franchisee/ commission agent
? Independent dealer with up to nine sites
? Independent dealer with 10 sites or more
== FINALISTS ==
There will be four finalists in each category competing for the national title of:
? Best Rural Retailer
? Best Neighbourhood Retailer
? Best Main Route Retailer
And, regardless of ownership/operation status, there will also be one award for:
? Best Motorway Site
The Forecourt Trader of the Year will be chosen from these three category winners, as well as the winner of the Best Motorway Site award.
== SPECIALIST CATEGORIES ==
Retailers can also enter these specialist award categories, including a new award for Best Hot Beverages Outlet:
? Best Site with a Licence to Sell Alcohol
? Best Car Care & Lubricants Outlet
? Best Display of Chilled Food
? Best Confectionery Outlet
? Best Crisps & Snacks Outlet
? Best Customer Service
? Best Food-to-Go Outlet
? Best Forecourt Facilities
? Best Hot Beverages Outlet
? Best Impulse Ice Cream Outlet
? Best Soft Drinks Outlet
? Best Tobacco Merchandising
? Best Use of Retail Technology
== HOW TO ENTER ==
Call the Forecourt Trader Awards hotline - 01293 846587 - to register for an entry form or visit the awards website [http://www.forecourttraderawards.co.uk] to download one. Carefully complete all parts of the application form and send it - together with those all-important photographs - to Helen Law, Forecourt Trader Awards 2008, William Reed Business Media, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT, to arrive by Monday June 2, 2008.
== JUDGING ==
The judging team is chaired by Forecourt Trader editor Merril Boulton, and includes the Forecourt Trader team, PRA director Ray Holloway, as well as our very own Shop Doctor, who all play a key role in the marathon on-the-road judging stages as the winners are decided. The first round of the judging process takes place at William Reed Business Media’s head office in Crawley. The entries are judged anonymously and the highest scorers are put forward for the on-the-road judging, but can be thrown out at any time if the site visit does not match up to the impression given in the photographs or the written entries.
== winning tips ==
Watch out for tips on how to be a winner in next month’s issue - essential reading for those aiming for the top prize.
== sponsors ==
Big thanks go to this year’s sponsors - without whom the awards would not be possible - particularly Palmer & Harvey, our principal sponsor who has supported the event since its inception in 1996.
We would also like to welcome new sponsor Simply Coffee, supporting the award for Best Hot Beverage Outlet.
? American Express
? Coca-Cola Enterprises
? Convenience Distribution Group
? Country Choice
? Gilbarco Veeder-Root
? Imperial Tobacco
? Nestlé Rowntree
? Simply Coffee
? Torex Retail
=== Past Award winners ===
1996 David Charman
1997 Robert Fraser
1998 Hugh Fraser
1999 Darren Lawrence
2000 Graham Kennedy
2001 John McCaffrey
2002 Steven Blackadder
2003 Jonathan & Rebecca James
2004 Peter & Pat Bellini
2005 Susie Hawkins
2006 Karl Brocklehurst
2007 Hugh & Robert Fraser