The Independent Achievers Academy today announced the 23 retailers from all parts of the UK who have been shortlisted by the judges for awards at the 2012 IAA gala dinner to be held in London on 22 November.

Announcing the awards, IAA head of engagement Kate Daw said: “This has been the strongest year on record. The standards of the top local retailers gets better and better.”  The like-for-like average mystery shop assessment scores of the finalists is up 5 per cent on the levels achieved in 2011 as independent shopkeepers continue to invest, Mrs Daw revealed.

As well as new ideas, the shopkeepers work collaboratively with the 12 leading suppliers who support the awards and share their best practice ideas across a nine month long educational period.

Taking part works, Kent retailer and finalist Bintesh Amin says.

“We think we are doing everything right but it takes something like the IAA to show you where to up your game. It is useful to have an outsider’s perspective,” he says.

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted. We’ve already learned a lot from the IAA and have looked through our shop assessment sheet to work out where we need to improve.”

For local shopkeepers like Mr Amin, the IAA works to build a sense of community. “It is all about learning and pushing the industry forward together,” he says.

 IAA FINALISTS

Shop Layout
Eddie Poole, Poole’s Supervalu Moira, Craigavon
Paul Mather, Sherston Post Office Stores, Sherston
Ashraf Ali, Gothenburg Convenience Store, East Whitburn

Merchandising
Dee Sedani, CTS Trading Ltd (Londis), Matlock
Daniel Cock, Premier Whitstone Village Stores, Holsworthy
Alkesh Gadher, Best-one Isleworth, Isleworth

Effective Ranging
Stephen Ansell, Shillington Village Store, Shillington
Bob and Sue Young, Robin Hill Stores, Marnhill
Tess Flower, The Village Shop, Upper Dicker

Availability
Terry Caton, Caton Enterprises Ltd (T/A Londis), Chesterfield
Paul and Pinda Cheema, Malcolm’s Stores, Coventry
Roli Ranger, Londis Ascot, Ascot

Customer Service
Mandeep Singh, Premier Singh’s, Sheffield
Terry Caton, Caton Enterprises Ltd (T/A Londis), Chesterfield
Bintesh Amin, Blean Village Londis, Canterbury

In-store Theatre
Roli Ranger, Londis Ascot, Ascot
Chris Rolfe, The Market Square Food and Wine Ltd, East Grinstead
Terry Caton, Caton Enterprises Ltd (T/A Londis), Chesterfield

Service to the Community

Daniel Cock, Premier Whitstone Village Stores, Holsworthy
Jay Patel, Jay’s Budgens, London
Bob and Sue Young, Robin Hill Stores, Marnhill

 Marketing to Customers

Daniel Cock, Premier Whitstone Village Stores, Holsworthy
Roli Ranger, Londis Ascot, Ascot
Christine Hope, Hopes of Longtown, Longtown

Sustainability

Shahid Razzaq, Premier Mo’s Convenience Store, Glasgow
Christine Hope, Hopes of Longtown, Longtown
John Parkinson, Broadway Premier News, Conwy

Responsible Retailing

Dee Sedani, CTS Trading Ltd (Londis)
Bintesh Amin, Blean Village Londis, Canterbury
Roli Ranger, Londis Ascot, Ascot

Retail Innovation

Roli Ranger, Londis Ascot, Ascot
Hitesh Chandarana, Nisa Local, Wigan
Chris Rolfe, The Market Square Food and Wine Ltd, Sussex

Staff Development

Paul and Michelle Gravelle, Gravelles Budgens, Sawbridgeworth
Roli Ranger, Londis Ascot, Ascot
Eddie Poole, Poole’s Supervalu Moira, Craigavon