Kopi Kalanathan, who runs a Costcutter store in Doncaster, has been named as the Symbol Convenience Retailer of the Year at the 2021 Asian Trader Awards.
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.
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 Symbol Convenience Retailer Award, supported by Bestway Wholesale, celebrates the fantastic offerings of the symbol groups and the way in which independent retailers can find a niche and great prosperity with them.
Kopi brought forward the opening of his store to ensure they could provide essentials to the local community in the area during lockdown, and he is all praise for the support from Costcutter. Access to Co-op Own Brand has been an instrumental part of the store’s success, providing shoppers with the ability to do a full shop locally.
With Costcutter now being part of the Bestway Group, he thinks they are better placed than ever to champion and support independent retailers.
The Judging Panel said: “Just a fantastic store all the time, with a wall of slush machines, offering 30 flavours and a 700sq ft dessert bar.”
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
- 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