The Marwaha family win a trip to vegas!

Glasgow retailing family Jack, Rita and Shaun Marwaha scooped the big prize at this year’s SLR Rewards – but every winner went home with an amazing Reward from an amazing night!

by Antony Begley

Glasgow retailing family Jack, Rita and Shaun Marwaha were among the many winners at the recent fully revamped, upweighted and reinvented SLR Rewards – and picked up a trip to Las Vegas in October this year to attend the NACS Conference into the bargain. But they weren’t the only ones to pick up a spectacular prize this year because every single category winner collected an amazing Reward. The unique concept has reinvented the industry awards ceremony and saw retailers pick up business-building trips to Las Vegas, Lille, Dublin, Plymouth, Manchester and London. A host of other money-can’t-buy prizes were also handed out on a true celebration of local retailing at the plush Grand Central in Glasgow. SLR Publisher Antony Begley commented: “We felt that the awards concept as it stood was getting tired, so we wanted to reinvent it from scratch and I believe we’ve achieved that in fine style. “We just asked ourselves the same question local retailers ask themselves every day: how can we give our customers a better experience? The answer was obvious: give every winner something they really, genuinely value and that adds real value to the business. And if it involves having to go to Vegas too, then so much the better!”

While the Marwaha family picked up the big prize, the evening also saw industry stalwart Ross Kerr honoured for a lifetime’s commitment to developing and improving the local retailing industry in Scotland. A well deserved honour, Ross was treated to a lengthy ovation from an emotional audience. And in between, the very cream of Scotland’s local retailing talent was recognised and rewarded, each receiving a superb prize. Keep an eye out in coming issues of SLR as we find out how our winners got on with their Rewards.

Every winner will be challenged to return from their experience and share what they’ve learned with the wider industry through the pages of SLR. Sharing best practice is, after all, what the SLR Rewards is really all about. Well done to everyone!

Scottish Local retailers of the year

Jack, Rita & Shaun Marwaha

This, undoubtedly the most coveted prize in local retailing, was collected by a family that have been making bigger and bigger waves in the Scottish local retailing scene over the last few years. From a standing start, Shaun, Jack and Rita’s Dynamic Retailing Group has built a portfolio of five stores – with a stated aim to double that number in the next year. But it’s not just what they’ve achieved, it’s how they’ve achieved it that impressed the judges so much. A steadfast commitment to excellence on every front is the foundation upon which the business is built. Top notch IT, great staff, better training, top of the range equipment throughout, a hunger for acquisition. All of these things are on show and there’s every reason to expect that growth to continue.

Lifetime Achievement

Ross Kerr

The man who brought the Walkers crisp brand to Scotland and helped drive the SGF HealthyLiving Programme forward to become the national institution it is today was honoured at this Year’s SLR Rewards. Ross Kerr, one of the most liked and most respected men in the Scottish local retailing industry, received a standing ovation at the Rewards from an audience packed with retailers, suppliers and industry body respresentatives who have worked with him over a long and illustrious career. “Ross Kerr is a remarkable man and this accolade could not have gone to a nicer human being,” said Joe Gosney, Director of Convenience at category sponsor Britvic. “His achievements are exceptional, his CV speaks for itself – and he’s managed all of this with a smile. Well done, Ross!”

Beer Retailer of the Year

Clydebank Co-op/Keystore, Baldwin Avenue

What’s its point of difference?

  • A new venture between retailer and wholesaler, the store’s attention to detail is plain to see throughout the fixture
  • The fixture ensures ease of shopping for every customer with a strong range, well merchandised, good use of POS and extensive chilling “The difference here is really in the amazing attention to all the small details that matter.” Chris Stirling, Heineken UK

Bread & Bakery Retailer of the Year

Nisa Extra Dundee

What’s its point of difference?

  • A bespoke bakery unit helps this store create an earthy, home-baked authenticity
  • Well-known brands are mixed with local and niche products to provide an offering to suit every taste
  • The fixture is logically presented and checked regularly to ensure that presentation is optimised, which is vital in this category “This large store had managed to combine the best of both worlds: a range of artisan breads and a strong branded range.” Tim Dummer, Hovis

Confectionery Retailer of the Year

Spar Thornliebank

What’s its point of difference?

  • A fanatical commitment to perfection in every category
  • Every best practice box ticked when it comes to confectionery
  • Multi-siting, large format packs, cross-category promotions, great deals, optimal use of POS
  • On-shelf merchandising and presentation is simply stunning l Great team communications ensures consistency “Gerry Haughey and his team at the store run one of tightest ships the judges have ever seen,” Brian Condie, Wrigley

Crisps & Snacks Retailer of the Year

Londis Craigmillar

What’s its point of difference?

  • A lesson in how to deal with fierce competition, this store has thrived despite being surrounded by supermarkets and discounters.
  • The store used the power of crisps and snacks as a key weapon to keep its customers coming back to the store every day.
  • Meal deals, £1 aisles, clever queue management, attractive fixtures, great navigational signage – it’s hard to miss crisps in the store. “Best practice is in evidence throughout the store, the perfect response to fierce competition.” Jennifer Robertson, Pringles

Making the Most of Milk

Wallyford Superstore

What’s its point of difference?

  • The milk fixture is sited in a prime location in this large store to ensure maximum engagement with customers
  • Great use of signage helps shoppers spot the fixture as soon as they enter the store which has led to a significant surge in sales
  • A regularly checked, well maintained fixture stocks a tight range, perfectly tailored for the local audience “Making the most of milk requires the unswerving commitment to the highest standards you see here,” Renzo Mozzachiodi, Muller-Wiseman Dairies

Newstrade Retailer of the Year

International Newsagent, Royal Mile

What’s its point of difference?

  • Situated on the Royal Mile, this store benefits from epic volumes of passing trade but makes the very most of that siting
  • A huge range of international titles appeals to locals and tourists.
  • Slick operation combines core convenience food lines to great effect “This is a business that understands news retailing at a deep level, and turns that into sales,” Scott McCulloch, News UK

Soft Drinks Retailer of the Year

Spar Bosswell Park, Ayr

What’s its point of difference?

  • A hugely attractive re-merchandised soft drinks fixture has led to a significant boost in sales for this store
  • Strong promotions and bespoke meal deals have helped leverage soft drinks to increase basket spend
  • Store-level EPoS data drives a perfect range for the store and is regularly reviewed to maximise cash profit “This store succeeds in using soft drinks as the lever to drive sales right across the store,” Sean Collins, Coca-Cola Enterprises

Spirits Retailer of the Year

Costcutter Aviemore

  • What’s its point of difference?
  • The store works hard to keep interest high in the category all year round among the many toruists and the year-round locals
  • Tasting sessions in-store have brought attention to an enlarged range of local whiskies
  • A bigger range of fractionals has helped drive impulse sales and trial.
  • Smart malts fixture highlights local spirits and drives basket spend “In the heart of whisky country, this store gives spirits the sort of support that helps them flourish ,” Paul Seenan, Maxxium

Community Retailer of the Year

Londis Crianlarich

What’s its point of difference?

  • It’s not an exaggeration to say that without Bryan and Isla Craig’s store, Crianlarich would function far less effectively as a community
  • The store is at the heart of most of what goes on in the village, 365 days a year using the shop as a central hub for all activity
  • The couple serve on every committee and group in the villlage, they fundraise, they provide the post office, they do home deliveries “The amount of time and effort that this pair puts into the community is frankly breathtaking – I take my hat off to them,” Garry Lynch, PayPoint

Food To Go Retailer of the Year

McLeish’s Inverurie

What’s its point of difference?

  • This store has had a strong food to go offering since the day it opened but the store has continued to innovate ever since
  • The range has recently been extended and diversified with more ethnic offerings
  • All food is made from scratch in the kitchens on the promises with a big focus on locally sourced ingredients
  • “Food to go relies on executing it really well every day and the team at McLeish’s have it it spot on,” Susan Nash, Mondelez

Fresh & Chilled Retailer of the Year

MacLennan’s Supermarket, Benbecula

What’s its point of difference?

  • A gem on the isle of Benbecula, this store delivers a frankly astonishing array of fresh produce for its customers
  • Attention to detail is everything here where the quality of the fruit and veg is first class
  • “The fresh offering is quite literally the finest I’ve seen in any supermarket or convenience store,” Antony Begley, SLR

Local Sourcing Retailer of the Year

Best One @ Brownlies, Biggar

What’s its point of difference?

  • This store sources literally hundreds of products locally and nationally
  • Practically every shelf in the store has product that has come from just a few miles away, and the customers love it
  • The store regularly wins new customers by sourcing local products “Many stores source locally – but this store has successfully turned local sourcing into its USP,” Paul Anderson, Food & Drink Hub for Scotland

Best Refit / New Store of the Year

Spar / BP Polbeth Service Station

What’s its point of difference?

  • Denis and William McCormack’s store underwent a full refit to deliver a brighter, more relaxed store and more enjoyable customer experience
  • Much of the work was done with environmental efficiency in mind
  • The spacious, clean lines of the store make it much easier to navigate for shoppers
  • The result is a 23% increase in sales “Modern c-stores need to look great as standards are now so high and this refitted store delivers on every front,” Harry Bennet, UB UK

Responsible Retailer of the Year

Day Today Maryhill

What’s its point of difference?

  • A retained fireman, Manjinder Dhesi knows what it means to put responsibility at the heart of all that he does
  • The team at the store go to admirable lengths to provide a professional, responsible approach to retailing
  • Modern technology is merged with old-fashioned common sense to take a pragmatic approach to ensuring sales are made responsibly “Local retailers sit at the heart of their communities so it’s fantastic to see a great example of a hugely responsible retailer,” Louise Hair, JTI

Best Use of Technology

Shaun’s Premier Store, Cardonald

What’s its point of difference?

  • A hugely progressive business, this store leverages the power of technology throughout the store
  • High tech refrigeration and lighting and fingerprint ID technology feature, as does a heavily adapted multi-site epos system “Retailers are going to be increasingly reliant on technology and it’s clear this store grasps that already,” Darren Town, Retail Data Partnership

Employee of the Year

Cathy Stewart (Premier L&m Stores), Aberdeen

What’s her point of difference?

  • Cathy is the sort of employee every retailer wants and needs: enthusiastic, positive, eager, committed, chatty and efficient. A star! “Retail is all about people – we all know that – and its people like Cathy that make local retailing so special,” Ed Sibley, him!


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