They’re top of the shops

CITY SUCCESS: Winners of the Durham City Retail Awards.
CITY SUCCESS: Winners of the Durham City Retail Awards.
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HIGH street stars have been recognised as top traders at an annual celebration.

More than 2,000 shoppers put in nominations for their favourite stores, bars, restaurants and cafes in Durham.

The results were announced at the sixth Durham City Retail Awards, held at Ramside Hall Hotel, with independents and major chains picking up titles.

Women’s clothing specialist East scooped the double, winning Overall Retailer of the Year and Small Retailer of the Year awards, after being judged on products it has to offer, detailed knowledge of them, as well as quality customer service.

Richard Toynbee, of Marketing Durham and Prince Bishops centre manager, said: “The Retail Awards aim to give credit to retailers in Durham that are really pulling out all of the stops to offer superb customer service and an ideal setting for all shoppers.

“We’re now in our sixth year of the awards and the standard of entries always remains high, so it’s a major achievement to be nominated.

“We’ve doubled the amount of nominations we received last year, which shows how passionate the people of Durham are about good customer service.”

BHS, in the Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, scooped the Large Retailer of the Year award, with its range of products said to be its pull to visitors.

Family-run Bramwells, which is also in the centre, was honoured with the Independent Retailer of the Year.

The jeweller, which recently expanded its store, won praise for its intricate knowledge and passion for quality craftsmanship and the customer service it provides.

Judges said the standards were so high this year they decided the Retail Person of the Year award would go to two people – Sarah Scarth of Costa and Beverley Bellis of East.

Durham’s food and drink sector also received recognition with Coffee Shop of the Year going to Costa Coffee for the ambience it offers its customers, speed of service and quality.

This year’s awards saw the introduction of three new categories.

Indoor Market Trader of the Year was awarded to Crafty Nook, for the role it plays in the vibrancy of the city centre after being judged on its level of communication skills, product knowledge and appearance of its stall.

The Stepping Up Durham Award, which aims to give new businesses the opportunity to trade at the Outdoor Market for four weeks, was won by Dawn Robson of Silver Dawning.

Salon of the Year was awarded to Saks for its professionalism.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham

Window of the Year – Warm Sanctuary.

Stepping Up Durham – Dawn Robson.

Retail Experience of the Year – Van Mildert.

Marketing Initiative of the Year – The Gates.

Indoor Market Trader of the Year – Crafty Nook’s Susan Platten.

Salon of the Year – Saks.

Coffee Shop of the Year – Costa Coffee.

Small Retailer of the Year – East.

Restaurant of the Year – Melenzana.

Independent Retailer of the Year – Bramwells.

Bar of the Year – Osbournes.

Retail Person of the Year – Sarah Scarth of Costa Coffee, and Beverley Bellis of East.

Large Retailer of the Year – BHS.