Forecourts featured strongly as winners at wholesaler Palmer & Harvey’s gala awards dinner, which took place in

Telford this week during the company’s annual Pro-retail trade show.

Mick Longshaw, proprietor of Bebington Service Station, The Wirral, was awarded Best News Retailer of the Year; while Mandy Ellis, area manager of the Roadside Group was presented with Best Forecourt Retailer, on behalf of Skyway Service Station. Best Symbol Retailer was Nemal Shanmuganathan of Exhall Service Station, Coventry. Other forecourt retailers recognised for their industry achievements throughout the year was Val Dowling of Mace Andover who was crowned Forecourt Sales Assistant of the Year at the Convenience Store Sales Assistant awards in 2009; and Nizam Patel, Mace, Darnall Service Station forbeingaConvenience Retail Awards finalist for Independent Stores.

Pro-Retail, which featured 180 suppliers, is now in its 28th year, and featured for the first time a Mace forecourt store to show visitors the magic that can be worked in less than 700 sq ft of space. There was also a Mace ’Retail Fitness Zone’ which allowed retailers to take the temperature of their business with a free store ’health check’ offering inspiration, new ideas and ways of enhancing their business profits. The exhibition also featured category zones to showcase product in a true-to-life retail environment.

Chris Etherington, chief executive of Palmer & Harvey, said: "Pro-retail is a great opportunity for us to benchmark the services that we provide and to get feedback from our customers."