The grocery industry saluted the UK’s army of hard working, enterprising independent retailers at the 30th Asian Trader Awards.
Around 900 guests celebrated the achievements of the country’s top shopkeepers at London’s Westminster Park Plaza hotel.
Mital Morar of Ancoats General Store, Manchester was named Asian Trader of the Year, the grocery industry's highest honour.
The Asian Trader Awards judges said: “Mital's store has a long chipboard table stretching from the entrance to the coffee counter. Customers can enjoy a selection of drinks, from traditional choices like espressos and smoothies to cortados and charcoal lattes. The table encourages people to stay for longer and while they are there they are looking at what else they can buy. He advertises through social media, reaching over 18,000 followers.”
After receiving the award, Mr Morar told Asian Trader: “Goodness knows how, but somehow I have won Asian Trader of the Year. It feels amazing. I think everyone should take part in retailing and give it a go for themselves.”
In a welcoming speech, Asian Trader Brand Champion Shefali Solanki said retail crime is “an issue that plagued the sector in the past and still continues to.”
2019 has been a particularly challenging year with total retail crime estimated to cost the sector around four billion pounds.
Asian Trader have reported on tragic stories of retailers who have lost their lives or suffered life threatening injuries trying to protect their shop and families.
These include the shopkeeper who was stabbed to death in Pinner earlier this year, to the gangs who raided ATMs in the West Midlands and to the retailer who was held up at gunpoint whilst his store was robbed in Southampton.
“Both national and local government together with law enforcement around the country have a major part to play in tackling this issue and we implore them to work with the sector to create a safer environment for you to continue doing the amazing work you do in your communities,” Ms Solanki added.
Seven other retailers besides Mital were awarded for the quality of their stores.
HT Drinks, one of the UK's leading specialist wholesalers serving 12,000 retailers nationwide, won the Wholesale Depot of the Year award.
Suppliers were given trophies for introducing some of the most groundbreaking new products into the market over the last 12 months.
Special awards were given to the supplier of the year and to the best wine and spirits suppliers to the convenience channel.
Colin Graves, Chair of Wholesale and Franchise Advisory Board, Co-op, was presented with the Editor's Award for his 50 years service to the grocery industry which has including his formation of the Costcutter symbol group.