Preston presented its annual ‘Smiles Better’ awards recognising the best customer service
The best of Preston’s retail and hospitality talent gathered at the city’s Evoque nightclub to celebrate outstanding customer service in Preston city centre.
The ‘Smiles Better’ awards, organised by the city’s Business Improvement District (BID), and sponsored by Fishergate and St. George’s Shopping Centres, honoured winners at a special ceremony.
The awards, which began in 2014, again attracted substantial support from members of the public, voting for their favourite businesses and employees.
In total, over 128,000 votes were cast for 84 finalists in 14 categories, with selected categories then mystery shopped.
The headline award, for Special Recognition, which cannot be voted for, went to family-firm, Ted Carter, an independent retailer based in the city centre for more than half-a-century.
The award was accepted on behalf of the business by Nick Carter, grandson of its founder Ted Carter.
There were ‘smiles’ all round as Boots’ Elaine Robinson was presented with a token of the city’s appreciation for almost 50 years’ dedicated service at the Fishergate store.
Mark Whittle, from Preston BID said: “It’s a real privilege for us to stage this competition recognising the people and businesses who work tirelessly to make the city centre the place it is.
“All winners, finalists and nominees should be proud of their achievements. I’d also like to thank both Fishergate and St. George’s Shopping Centres for recognising the value in this competition and sponsoring the awards this year.”
The Outstanding Achievement in Retail, Outstanding Achievement in Leisure and Customer Service Champion of the year awards were presented by special guest, Jake Wood AKA EastEnder’s Max Branning.
Jake said: “It was great to be in Preston to celebrate the achievements of the businesses and people who make the city centre of Preston proud.
“It was fantastic to see so many happy people sharing in their success. Preston’s a lovely place; long may the Smiles Better awards continue.”
Keith Mitchell, manager of the Fishergate Shopping Centre, said: “These are great awards recognising real hard work and true talent on Preston’s High Street.
“The people who work in our shops, restaurants, pubs and bars deserve the acclaim and the fact that almost 130,000 people voted for them shows the appreciation of the Preston public.”
General manager at St George’s Shopping Centre, Andrew Stringer, said: “To see so many examples of excellent customer service in one room at The Smiles Better Awards really is reason to celebrate.
“Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who was shortlisted, they all deserve this recognition.”
Leisure Manager of the Year – Michael Baxter, Popworld
Club of the Year – Evoque
Retail Manager of the Year – Sam Eaves, Ann Summers
Restaurant of the Year – Turtle Bay
Best Customer Service (Retail) – Sam Eaves, Ann Summers
Best Customer Service (Leisure) – Adam Ratkai Bence, Olive Tree Brasserie
Bar of the Year – Popworld
Independent Retailer of the Year – Victoria’s Vault
Pub of the Year – The Adelphi
Entertainer of the Year – DJ Ben, The Warehouse
Outstanding Achievement (Retail) – Michael Halewood, Halewood & Sons. Booksellers
Outstanding Achievement (Leisure) – Leigh Sweetman, Evoque
Customer Service Champion – Tom Hanlon, Cameo & Vinyl and Evoque
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD: Ted Carter
Multiple Retailer of the Year – Specsavers