The Asian Trader Awards, the most prestigious awards in the convenience retail sector, celebrated its 34th edition in style at the Park Plaza Westminster Hotel in London, directly across the river from Big Ben, on Wednesday (9 November).
Kevin Hollinrake, minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, was the chief guest at the event, which celebrated the most innovative and successful retailers from the UK’s independent grocery sector.
Shamly Sud, who runs the Racetrack Pitstop Premier store in Strathclyde, Glasgow bagged the top prize of the evening, wining the Asian Trader of the Year accolade.
Shamly’s business began with the concept of being a store with multiple concessions in store, appealing to multiple markets and offering something new to customers. They now run 11 stores, with plans to open three more by the end of next year and franchise their own Tubbees Dessert Lab and Hoagies, a food-to-go brand, across the UK.
“Shamly has concocted a true recipe for convenience success and a peek into the future of the sector,” the judges noted.
Shamly is the winner of the Food to Go Award at last year’s Asian Trader Awards. Customers simply cannot resist her nitro ice cream, 80 flavours of slushy or 20-metre dessert bar. “By adding new brands and services, we increase brand loyalty to the store and in turn increase basket spend,” says Shamly, who set out to change the retail landscape, and make it more fun and enjoyable, endlessly experimenting with new ideas.
In the year the store has been open, she has already changed the layout at least six or seven times. Drawing inspiration from America and the Middle East, every area of the store is carefully and beautifully merchandised to create dramatic instore theatre in every category.
The store boasts a carefully curated wine and spirits selection, an impressive beer cave and an exceptionally wide variety of soft drinks, all immaculately merchandised in wall-to-wall chiller cabinets.
They’ve created a positive and different retail experience that aligns with changing customer expectations – this single store is like a fun day out at the mall.
In all, 13 retailers were honoured in different categories at the event, and Parfetts Cash & Carry at Shepcote, Sheffield won the Wholesale Depot of the Year award. Four new product launches from the last year, voted for the retailers, were also feted.
Ram Solanki Lifetime Achievement Award, instituted in the memory of Ramniklal Solanki CBE, founder of Asian Media Group, went to Steve Keil, Director of Tactical Trading at Booker Wholesale.
Hollinrake, who was appointed minister last month, said he looks forward to developing a closer association with the sector.
“Small businesses are the very foundation of a dynamic, productive economy that creates employment, and brings huge benefits for the consumer. I’m determined to make it easier to start and grow business in this country by improving access to business finance, providing better advice and support and offering incentives to invest and grow.
“I am relishing working with independent retailers, promoting your needs across the government. I promise you, now we are on your side.”
Asian Trader Ram Solanki Lifetime Achievement Award: Steve Keil, Director of Tactical Trading at Booker Wholesale
Asian Trader Awards
Asian Trader of the Year: Shamly Sud, Racetrack Pitstop Premier, Strathclyde
Responsible Retailer of the Year Award supported by JTI: Mayaur (Dee) Sedani, One Stop, Stoke on Trent
Wholesale depot of the Year Award supported by JTI: Parfetts Cash & Carry, Stockport
Convenience Chain of the Year Award supported by Dr Beckmann: Jayaseelan Thambirajah, MSP Noble Group, Cambridgeshire
Vape Convenience Retailer of the Year supported by BAT: Girish Jeeva Premier Barmulloch Glasgow
Bakery Retailer of the Year Award supported by Warburtons: Michael Atherden & Paula Lafferty, Nisa, Bury
Next Gen Award: Rushi Patel, Londis Rushi Stores, Berkshire
Independent Retailer of the Year supported by Booker: Kris Naveretam, Londis Burbage, Wiltshire
Food to Go Retailer of the Year Award: Faz Latif One Stop Premier, Methil Fife
Spirit of the Community Award supported by Mondelez: Amrit Singh, Nisa Local, Walsall
Symbol Convenience Retailer of the Year Award supported by Bestway: Nithy & Sue Nityanandan, Costcutter, Epsom, Surrey
Off Licence of the Year Awards supported by Molson Coors (Cobra): Neha Phoughat, Shera’s Premier, Birmingham
Impulse Retailer of the Year Award: Peter Juty, Costcutter Culverstone, Kent
Local Hero Award supported by Kurkure: Jenny Donaghy, Spar, Llandrinio, Powys
Product and Manufacturer Awards
Convenience Snacks Brand of the Year supported by Sunmark Ltd: Kurkure, PepsiCo
Convenience Soft Drinks Bottled Water and Juices Brand of the Year supported by Sunmark Ltd: Relentless Zero Sugar, CCEP
Convenience Confectionery Brand of the Year supported by Sunmark Ltd: Cadbury Caramilk Buttons, Mondelez
Convenience Vape and Next Generation Product Brand of the Year: Nordic Spirit Spearmint, JTI