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    Kent’s consummate retailer bags top honour of 2023 Asian Trader Awards

    From left: Shailesh Solanki, Sarah Connor from JTI, Kalpesh (Peter) Patel and team, Kalpesh Solanki, Nitin Ganatra

    Kalpesh (Peter) Patel of Zola Group, Costcutter, Barming, Kent has bagged the top coveted honour at 34th Annual Asian Trader awards 2023.

    This year, the award event was held at Westminster Park Plaza Hotel in London. The compere for the evening was Nitin Ganatra, better known as Masood on EastEnders. The awards were presented by Kalpesh and Shailesh Ramniklal Solanki, Group Managing Editor and Executive Editors at Asian Trader.

    Food minister Mark Spencer MP was the chief guest of the event. The awards night saw some of the most innovative and successful retailers from the UK’s independent grocery sector. Judges noted that the entries for the awards have surpassed all expectations, making this year’s competition the fiercest and most competitive one to date.

    Asian Trader of the Year award is presented to the store judged to be the very best in the country and for over three decades the winners of this accolade have significantly raised store standards and helped revive the independent convenience sector.

    Patel started out working in his parent’s shop as a toddler stocking shelves and imbibing the basics of convenience retailing. He took over the family shop when he was in his early 20s and set about revolutionising the business, undertaking an extensive refit, adding scanning and professionalising the store’s range and offering.

    His burning ambition was to build a convenience chain and in 2011 he set about acquiring new stores, slowly developing and moulding each one to his retailing philosophy which is to undertake an extensive refit, localise the range and build partnerships with the local community and suppliers.

    Many of his stores compete with nearby multiple convenience stores, but this has never been a deterrent. Indeed, it is a challenge he relishes and it has paid handsome dividends with a chain that now numbers ten stores, each delivering strong revenues and robust margins.

    Always ahead of the game, Patel was one of the first to introduce loose fruit and veg, vegan and free-from shelves, local produce and craft beers and ales that cookie-cutter stores simply can’t compete with – an Asian Trader for all seasons.

    The award was presented by Sarah Connor, director of communications at JTI. The other finalists for this title were Ehamparam Karunanithy from Premier Talbot Store in Poole, Nikesh Patel from S&B Supermarket LLP in Northampton and Kersheaup Vagadia from Costcutter Kearsley Mount Precinct in Bolton.

    Speaking at the event, Asian Trader assistant publisher Shefali Solanki said, “The Asian Trader Awards is considered to be the most significant and important way of recognising and encouraging excellence in the convenience sector and recognising wholesalers and suppliers who play an incredible role in the supply chain to help feed the country.

    “Since the inception of the awards, we have recognised some amazing retailers and wholesalers, with the help of our esteemed judges. Tonight is no different with the entries being some of the best we have ever seen.

    “The winners tonight have innovated, offered home deliveries, supported their local communities, fund raised for local charities and offered free food and supplies to school children. These retailers have understood the changing needs of their customers and have adapted their stores to suit their needs.”

    Kent's consummate retailer bags top honour of 2023 Asian Trader Awards

    Below is the complete list of winners of Asian Trader Awards 2023.

    Ramniklal Solanki Award for Excellence in Convenience and Wholesale: Jason Stocker, Wholesaler and Convenience Controller for Nestlé UK

    Asian Trader of the Year 2023 In Association with JTI: Kalpesh (Peter) Patel, Zola Group Limited, Barming, Kent

    Asian Trader Responsible Retailer of the Year Supported by JTI: Dave Hiscutt, Bassetts Londis, Weymouth

    Asian Trader Wholesale Depot of the Year: AG Parfetts and Sons, Redfern Road, Tyseley, Birmingham

    Asian Trader Convenience Chain of the Year Supported by Dr Beckmann: Arul Palaniappan – Premier, Grantown-On-Spey

    Asian Trader Vape Convenience Retailer of the Year Supported by BAT: Nikesh Patel – S&B Supermarket LLP T/A Costcutter, Northampton

    Asian Trader Bakery Retailer of the Year Supported by Warburtons: Fabio Finocchiaro – Rootes Grocery Store (Costcutter) University of Warwick

    Asian Trader Next Gen Award Supported by One Stop: Kersheaup Vagadia – Kearsley Mount Precinct, Bolton

    Asian Trader Independent Retailer of the Year Supported by Booker: Anila Ali – Ali’s Convenience Store, Premier, Tranent

    Asian Trader Food to Go Retailer of the Year Supported by KP Snacks: Shaan Chaudry – Triple ‘a’ Foodhall, Nuneaton

    Asian Trader Spirit of the Community Award Supported by Mondelēz International: Imran Ali – Day-Today, Bourtreehill Supermarket, Irvine, Ayrshire

    Symbol Retailer of the Year Supported by Bestway: David Wyatt – Crawley Down Group Ltd, Costcutter/Bargain Booze, Crawley

    Off Licence of the Year Supported by Molson Coors: Ehamparam Karunanithy – Premier Talbot Store, Poole

    Asian Trader Impulse Retailer of the Year Supported by pladis: Sheetal Sisodiya – Spar Lindford, Bordon

    Local Hero Award Supported by Walkers: Surinder Kaur Dhadwal – One Stop, Oldbury, Birmingham

    Asian Trader Businesswoman of the Year Supported by PML: Kay Patel – Witley Village Store, Witley, Surrey

    Convenience Product Awards winners 2023

    Snack brand of the year: McCoy’s Epic Eats KP Snacks

    Soft Drinks Brand of the Year: Monster Energy Lewis Hamilton Zero Sugar Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

    Confectionery Brand of the Year: Galaxy Smooth Mint Mars Wrigley

    Vape and Next Generation Brand of the Year: Blu Bar Imperial Tobacco

    Lager, Beer and Cider Brand of the Year: Madri Excepcional Molson Coors

    Asian Trader Grocery Brand of the Year: McVitie’s Gold Billions Wafer – pladis

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