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 now 10 years old, 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.


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.


All finalists are invited to the awards dinner as part of an all-expenses paid night out at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel, London, on Thursday, September 21, 2006. 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.


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:

- Rural

- Neighbourhood

- Main route

- Motorway

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


There will be four finalists in each category competing for the national title of:

- Best Rural Retailer

- Best Neighbourhood Retailer

- Best Main Route Retailer

The Forecourt Trader of the Year will be chosen from these three category winners in addition to the winner of the Best Motorway Site award.


Retailers can also enter these specialist award categories:

- 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 Soft Drinks Outlet

- Best Tobacco Merchandising

- Best Use of Retail Technology


Call the Forecourt Trader Awards hotline - 01293 867629 - to register for an entry form or visit the awards website to download one. Carefully complete all parts of the application form and send it - together with those all-important photographs - to Nicola Smith, Forecourt Trader Awards 2006, William Reed Events, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT, to arrive by Friday June 9, 2006.


The judging team is chaired by Forecourt Trader editor Merril Boulton, and includes the Forecourt Trader team, as well as PRA director Ray Holloway, Garagewatch founder Mark Bradshaw, and 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 sponsors take part in the first round of the judging process which takes place at William Reed Publishing Ltd’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.


Watch out for tips on how to be a winner in next month’s issue. Plus a series of articles in forthcoming issues, introducing the sponsors who play such an important role in supporting these annual awards. They include the main sponsor, Palmer & Harvey, which has supported the event since its inception in 1996.

The other key sponsors are:

- American Express

- Coca-Cola Enterprises

- Convenience Distribution Group

- Country Choice

- Gilbarco Veeder-Root

- Ginsters

- Imperial Tobacco

- Nestlé Rowntree

- Stella Artois

- Torex Retail

- Walkers


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