Cheltenham shops celebrate being shortlisted for Echo awards
SHOPS across Cheltenham are celebrating after being shortlisted for the Echo's awards for superb stores.
The finalists in each category of the Love to Shop awards for retail brilliance are announced today, after the judges had the difficult task of whittling down all the entries.
The judging panel was made up of Echo editor Kevan Blackadder, Gloucestershire Media commercial director Paul Wiltshire, Target PR chief executive Sarah Bryars, Beechwood Shopping Centre manager Owen Acland and Regent Arcade manager John Forward.
Kevan said: "It was a real eye opener to be involved in judging because of the wide range of shops of all kinds which continue to do Cheltenham proud.
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"I was very impressed with the range of entries across the key categories."
Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony at Cheltenham Town Hall on February 27.
In the independent category of the Best Overall Retailer prize, the three finalists are Bumblebeez Florist, Keith Scarrott Shoes, and Lots of Lemons Delicatessen.
Hannah Spreadbury, a sales assistant at the women's shoe shop in the Promenade, said staff were "absolutely thrilled" to be in the final three.
She said: "There are very few independent shops left nowadays, so it's great to be recognised.
"We have seven staff and we're all really proud that our hard work is being recognised."
It was a double celebration for Hannah, as she was also named in the final three for the Best Sales Representative category.
Her fellow finalists for the prize are Rachel Flavel from Neal's Yard Remedies, and Laura Leigh Hairdressing's Nykita Jowsey.
Nykita, 17, from Prestbury, who is an apprentice stylist at the salon, said: "I'm really excited about being in the final three. I'm surprised and proud."
Laura Leigh is also celebrating being in the final for the independent Best Marketing Campaign award.
Owner Laura Leigh said: "We are all so happy to be in the final three. Our marketing campaign was about 'new year, new hair', and it tied in with upcoming events like the Cheltenham Races."
Love to Shop has been praised by retailers.
Mr Acland said: "The awards highlight the hard work and creativity that is going on in shops in Cheltenham."