Derby store wins Responsible Retailer of the Year award

Best-One Preens Convinence store - Responsible Retailer award winner at the Asian Trader Awards 2021
L-R: Shailesh Solanki, Ross Hennessy, Sales Vice President UK JTI. Jonathan James, Lewis Prager, Kalpesh Solanki, Rory Bremner

James Convenience Store, located within Derby Bus Station, has been named the joint winner in the Responsible Retailer of the Year category at the 2021 Asian Trader Awards.

The store is run by Jonathan James, whose James Retail Group operates around 45 convenience and newsagent stores across the central belt of the country. Lewis Prager, of Best-One Preens in Wakefield, shared the prize in the category.

The 33rd edition of the awards, which celebrates excellence in the UK’s convenience stores, was held on Tuesday 30 November at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London hosted by noted impressionist Rory Bremner.

Winners of Asian Trader Awards 2021

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has graced the event as chief guest, with leading politicians and captains of industry joining in to herald independent retailers, convenience store and symbol operators, shopkeepers, off-license owners and newsagents from across the UK.

Delivering his keynote speech, Kwarteng said: “I have to say to the companies and  business leaders represented here tonight that you have shown a spirit of sacrifice, and huge amounts of real leadership in your communities. And that’s why I wouldn’t miss this event for the world.

“It was retailers, day in day out, who were bearing the brunt of the risk, who were working, in many cases 20 hours a day, to keep people going and to make sure that essential goods and services were provided. And my only word is thank you. You probably don’t hear that too often from government ministers.

“But from the bottom of my heart that is the most sincere, heartfelt message, because it’s been a terrible time, for so many people in lots of different communities, and without your support, without your unstinting effort, things would have been a lot worse. So thank you very much on behalf of everybody in this country.”

The Asian Trader Responsible Retailing Award, supported by JTI, recognises the maturity, foresight and concern for customers shown by retailers in adhering to legal and regulatory guidelines and working with authorities and their community to combat illicit trade in their area as well as a commitment to social responsibility and the environment.

At James Retail Group, local team members who will know the local customers play a crucial role in ensuring the stores trade responsibly, and the Derby store is no exception.

The store has a foolproof age check system in place with a prompt coming up on screen to remind staff to check age as they scan cigarettes or alcohol, and the EPoS system requires verification from the staff before the transaction gets authorised.

The Judging Panel said: “Clearly a good store to work in and in my opinion a good company to work for, with a zero tolerance policy regarding violence or intimidation towards team members.”

The full list of the winners:

  • Ram Solanki Lifetime Achievement Award: Sir David Amess MP (posthumous)
  • Wholesale Depot of the Year Award: Time Cash & Carry Rainham
  • Responsible Retailer of the Year supported by JTI: Lewis Prager, Best One Preens, Wakefield West Yorkshire and Jonathan James, James Convenience Retail Ltd, Derby
  • Convenience Chain of the Year Award supported by Dr Beckmann: Pete (Kalpesh) Patel, Zola Ltd (Costcutter) Southborough
  • Local Hero Award supported by Walkers Sensations: Asif Akhtar, Premier Smeaton Stores, Kirkcaldy
  • Bakery Retailer of the Year Award supported by Warburtons: Mike Humphreys, Premier Kenninghall Stores and Post Office Norwich
  • Independent Retailer of the Year Award supported by Booker: Pete Saleem, Premier Broadway Circle, Blythe, Northumberland
  • Food To Go Retailer of the Year Award: Shamly Sud, Premier Racetrack, Glasgow
  • Tobacco Retailer of the Year Award supported by Imperial Tobacco: Amit Puntambekar, Ash’s Store, Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire
  • Impulse Retailer of the Year Award supported by State Bank of India: Mos Patel Family Shopper Ashton Under Lyne (Both Shops)
  • Symbol Convenience Retailer of the Year Award supported by Bestway: Kopi Kalanathan, Costcutter, Doncaster
  • Next Gen Award supported by pladis: Nishi Patel, Londis Bexley Park, Dartford
  • Vape Convenience Retailer of the Year Award supported by British American Tobacco: Aman Uppal, One Stop Mount Nod, Coventry
  • Spirit of the Community Award supported by Mondelez: Julie Kaur, Premier Jules Convenience Store, Telford
  • Asian Trader of the Year: Mandeep Singh, Premier Singh’s Shirecliffe, Sheffield

Product Awards winners:

  • Convenience Snacks Brand of the Year: McCoy’s Fire Pit, KP Snacks
  • Convenience Soft Drink Brand of the Year: Monster Nitro, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners
  • Convenience Confectionery Brand of the Year: Cadbury Twirl Orange by Mondelēz International
  • Convenience Vape & Next Gen Product of the Year: Ploom by JTI