Dust off the tuxedo and get all those shelves faced up, we’re on the lookout once again for the nation’s best convenience stores.

The Convenience Retail Awards 2010 launches today, so if you are proud of your store, your staff and your standards, we’d love to hear from you.

The convenience sector has been going great guns in recent years and the Convenience Retail Awards is the industry’s best platform to show the world your pride in your work and your gratitude to the store team that makes it all happen.

We’ve made it as easy as possible for you to choose which awards you’d like to be considered for – you can enter the main store awards, one or more of the specialist categories alone, or both – but to get to the first stage you need an official entry form to complete and return to us along with photographs. 

From all the entries we will draw up a shortlist who will be visited by one of our official judges, with the best stores invited to join us for a lavish awards presentation and dinner at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, London, on the evening of Thursday, March 11.
The reigning Convenience Retailer of the Year Guy Warner, who picked up the top award for 2009 in March, told C-Store that winning the prize had a number of benefits for his business.

“The first thing is that the award gives us the ability to recognise our team that work so hard,” he says. “The staff were thrilled to win, and you just can’t buy that as a motivational tool. The trophies are in a cabinet near the checkout at our Moreton store – we wanted to move them to our head office but the staff wouldn’t let us! And the trip to London and the chance to attend an event in a big hotel were great from a team perspective.”
The other main benefit of the win was the publicity it generated in the local area, continues Guy.

“Winning a national award makes great PR for the local press. After our win at least four or five local papers followed it up, giving us an opportunity to say ‘we’re here, we’re doing a great job and we’re independent’.

“The judging visit was very thorough – the judge wasn’t just looking for who had had the most expensive refit that year, but rather how you run your business. You always put that extra bit of effort when the judge is arriving. It’s one of those things you really up your game for, and that has a really positive effect on customers, too.”

And Guy’s final piece of advice? “Don’t leave it too late to enter. If you delay it there’s always something else that can crop up and you might never get round to entering at all.”
So take a tip from the expert, and request your entry form now. You never know where it might lead.

All entries must be made on the official entry form, which is available by post by phoning the awards hotline 01293 610354, or by dowloading from the awards website. Completed entry forms must be received by November 6, 2009.