The prize is right

The Scottish Grocer Awards once again recognised the hard work found across the convenience sector.

THE best of Scottish convenience retail once again gathered at the Hilton Hotel Glasgow for the return of the industry’s biggest night of the year – the Scottish Grocer Awards 2022.

Following a turbulent year of rising costs and covid recovery, retailers, category sponsors and key industry figures came together to celebrate all the hard work that has gone into the sector during the last 12 months.

Some 15 awards were handed out on the night, recognising the incredible feats that retailers across the country have contributed – helping to make the convenience sector the success that it is today.

Scottish Grocer Awards judges were thoroughly impressed by the standards presented in each and every store they visited over the summer months, with the finalists demonstrating just how retailers have gone above and beyond across the sector to ensure their communities had the help and support they needed.

As he took to the stage to welcome guests on the night, new Scottish Grocer editor Giles Blair noted that, despite his short time in the role, he had already seen the incredible level the convenience sector works at to ensure the best quality service is available for every customer who walks through the door. He eagerly awaits the chance to see more.

Following the three course meal in the Hilton and drinks provided by sponsors of the Awards, this year’s host of the Scottish Grocer Awards, kilted comic Craig Hill, took to the stage to begin announcing this year’s winners.

But before doing so, Hill made sure the guests had a good night out of their own with a comedy performance that kept guests laughing until the awards ceremony began.

  • Starting off the night with a pop was the Best Soft Drinks Retailers of the Year, which recognised the retailers that bring the best to their chillers in store.

And Spar Kincorth was fizzing over with joy as it accepted the award, recognising the store’s hard work across the category.

  • Following the bubbles came the Innovation Award. This prize recognises the new ways in which retailers have provided some imaginative ideas and show how important it is to always be thinking ahead in the sector.

And for these reasons, Premier Racetrack Pitstop Glasgow took home the gong, recognising the store’s breadth of high-tech innovations across the store.

  • The vaping category has been skyrocketing in popularity and the Vaping Retailer of the Year Award recognised those retailers that have capitalised on this.

And there is no better place to find out more about the category than Day-Today Drylaw Edinburgh, which took home the award for its expansive knowledge of vapes.

  • Driving on, the next award was Home Delivery Store of the Year and Londis Solo Convenience Baillieston was named the winner for its impressive dedication to the service.

Despite operating from a smaller store, the retailers have managed to ensure a professional service that fits demand from the local area.

  • Next up on the night was the Tobacco Retailer of the Year Award, which recognises the extensive knowledge retailers need to have in the category – covering regulations but also ensuring they build up a range that befits the customer.

For these reasons, Mace South Bridge Edinburgh was once again named the winner for the category as the store continued to evolve across its tobacco offering.

  • It has been intimidating to even consider opening a new store over these last few years, but every store nominated for the Best New Store Award showed just how ready retailers are to take on the challenge.

This year, Broughton Market Edinburgh hit the ground running and took home the gong, displaying a level of excellence that impressed Scottish Grocer judges.

  • Following on from this was the Licensed Retailer of the Year award, to raise a glass for the retailers that have been helping to keep our own filled during the last 12 months.

Keystore More Clydebank Co-op Hardgate took home the award for its range that fits its demographic, including beers linked to a local football team.

  • Green credentials have been a growing concern for consumers and the Sustainability Champion award recognised those stores that have met and catered for these concerns.

Premier Racetrack Pitstop Bearsden has demonstrated its sustainable efforts in store, including a heat recovery system that uses energy from its slush machines to power the shop’s heating, and picked up the gong.

  • Retailers will have given out plenty of ‘two for the price of one’ promos over the last year but it was Scottish Grocer’s time to return the favour with the next awards, Symbol Store of the Year for both Single Store and Multiple Stores.

Ensuring that retailers’ hard work is recognised whether it be through one store or many, the prizes celebrate those stores that operate under a single fascia brand.

Spar Renfrew was named Single Store of the Year, taking home the first gong of the award.

And for the Multiples, Premier Girvan, Drongan and Ayr could celebrate their award win proudly in both its stores.

  • Next on the night came the Community Retailer of the Year Award, recognising all those retailers who have gone the extra mile in their communities to support those in need.

And a generous nature is just what can be found with the team at Keystore More Clydebank Co-op Kilbowie, who won the award to recognise the work they put in organising events for the community and ensuring that no customer in their store ever goes hungry.

  • The Employee of the Year Award recognises the very best colleagues in convenience and Rory Watson, from Cults Stores Keystore Aberdeen, picked up the award for his work to help members of the community, including the elderly with tech issues they come across.

Presented by sponsors Jack and Victor, both Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan made a special appearance on the night to congratulate Watson on his fine achievement.

  • With the evening drawing to a close, there were just three awards left as the room waited in anticipation to see who would be named Independent Retailer of the Year.

One worthy of note, the Independent Retailer award recognises those shopkeepers who can stand as an example of the very best the industry has to offer with a store that remains strong in the face of some real competition.

For these reasons and plenty more, Premier Cupar Stores took home the coveted prize in recognition of its high standards of retail service and quality all coming from a store with limited space.

  • Finally, the night came to the two most celebrated awards of the evening, ones that mark out some particularly special retailers that have shined the most over the last 12 months.

Both chosen in secret by a panel of judges and experts in the industry, the final two awards highlight where the future of convenience retail may lie for Scotland.

First up was the Entrepreneur Award for 2022. To choose this winner, Scottish Grocer judges and award sponsors JTI decided in secret to find an individual who best represented a true entrepreneurial spirit across the Scottish convenience sector, with a thriving business and a keen eye kept on the future of the industry.

For these reasons, Shamly Sud, director of GHSL Ltd, won the Entrepreneur Award for 2022, recognising her strength as a business owner in a competitive field.

GHSL may still be in its early days in comparison to other retail groups out there, but Sud has already introduced plenty for retailers to get excited about in the sector.

  • Last but certainly not least came the final award for the evening, the Industry Achievement Award, chosen in secret by a team of Scottish Grocer judges and award sponsors Republic Technologies UK.

Harris Aslam, director of Greens Retail, received the Industry Achievement Award for his hard work in growing the symbol brand to the heights it has reached today.

After taking over his grandfather’s store with his cousin and business partner Raza Rehman in 2014, Aslam has worked tirelessly to grow the Greens brand across Scotland and, in the last year alone, has more than doubled the number of stores operating under the fascia brand.

Aslam took to the stage to accept his award and gave his thanks to his many colleagues and members of the retail community in the room and brought the Scottish Grocer Awards 2022 to a close.

Scottish Grocer Awards 2022 full winners list available on our website: click here.