Northern Ireland’s Leading Retailers Recognised at Prestigious Awards

Leading retailers from across Northern Ireland have been recognised at the 21st Neighbourhood Retailer Awards, which took place recently in Belfast. Magherafelt’s JC Stewarts took home the top prize on the evening, crowned overall winner in the Retailer of the Year category.

Established in 1998, the annual awards ceremony is one of the highlights on the local food and drink industry’s calendar. The only independent awards for the grocery industry in Northern Ireland, the annual event is recognised as the benchmark for success across the trade.

Sponsored by Camelot, the awards are independently judged by an expert panel of adjudicators from Spotcheck and attract entries from across Northern Ireland’s diverse grocery industry including supermarkets, food-to-go, convenience, neighbourhood, deli, and forecourt retailers. This year the event was preceded by the inaugural Neighbourhood Retailer Summit, which brought together international retail experts who shared strategies for successful growth in the grocery sector.

The Neighbourhood Retailer Awards saw retailers go head-to-head across 19 individual categories, including the coveted overall title of Retailer of the Year, as well as Lifetime Achievement and the Community Store of the Year Award.

As well as taking home the overall gong on the evening, JC Stewarts were also named Fresh Food Store of the Year, while last year’s overall winner, Milestone Rathfriland, won the Neighbourhood Store of the Year Category Four award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Peter McBride, McBride Retail, while Kearney’s of Randalstown was named Community Store of the Year. Alastair Connor, McCool’s SuperValu Ballymoney, was recognised as Store Manager of the Year.

Bill Penton, Managing Director of Penton Exhibitions which organises the Awards, said:

“I’d like to congratulate all of our category award winners as well as the finalists at this year’s Neighbourhood Retailer Awards. As always, the calibre of entries was outstanding, highlighting the wealth of talent across the sector. Our overall winner, JC Stewarts, demonstrated not only a focus on meeting customers’ expectations, but delivering services at a high standard as well. The judging was an unenviable task and throughout the selection process a clear customer focus, passion for innovation and emphasis on training and development was evident from all the applications. The quality and variety of award winners is illustrative of why the food and drink industry is such a significant contributor to the Northern Ireland economy.

“The awards are a key event on the industry calendar and the events have been highly successful this year with over 400 people attending the Neighbourhood Retailer Summit, and 500 in attendance at the Awards. The awards are a great opportunity to recognise the retail sector’s best and brightest, and celebrate the industry’s top leaders, innovators and change-makers.”

Pic Caption: Category sponsor, Moira Mills from Moy Park,(centre) with Bill Penton; MD Penton Exhibitions, and Pearce Kelly, Gary McCullagh, and Shaun Kelly, from winning store JC Stewarts.

The full list of Category Winners includes:

  • Neighbourhood Store of the Year, Category 1 - McGovern's Centra Donegal Street
  • Neighbourhood Store of the Year, Category 2 - Watson's Centra Portaferry
  • Neighbourhood Store of the Year, Category 3 - Creightons of Finaghy
  • Neighbourhood Store of the Year, Category 4 - Milestone Rathfriland Ltd
  • CTN of the Year - Mace Castle Street
  • Butcher of the Year - Jackson's Butchers, Bakery and Coffee Shop
  • Off-Licence of the Year - The Fiveways Nisaextra
  • Store Manager of the Year - Alastair Connor, McCool's SuperValu Ballymoney
  • Fresh Food Store of the Year - JC Stewarts
  • Forecourt of the Year, Category 1 - Centra Carrickfergus
  • Forecourt of the Year, Category 2 – Eurospar Brackenvale
  • Deli of the Year - Creightons of Balmoral
  • Newcomer of the Year - Spar Fortfield
  • Best Customer Service - Spar Parkgate
  • Bakery of the Year - Heatherlea Bakery
  • Community Store of the Year - Kearney's Of Randalstown
  • Pharmacy of the Year - Bannside Pharmacy Ltd
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Peter McBride, McBride Retail
  • Retailer of the Year - JC Stewarts