Independent Record shop Banquet Records, Kingston, won the Best Independent Retailer award at the Kingston Business Excellence Awards on October 15.
The Record shop on Eden Street, which has its own label and club nights and provides a wide selection of music on both CD and vinyl, prides itself in being ‘more than just your local record store’.
The winners were announced at the Holiday Inn in Kingston at a gala dinner, hosted by Julia Hartley- Brewer, celebrity broadcaster and columnist, and led by Kingston Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Royal Borough of Kingston and Kingstonfirst.
Other finalists for this particular category included Ex Cellar, Horrocks and Boyd, The Repair Station and Your Art 2 Canvas.
“I hope we didn’t just win because we were closest to the front, because Jerry Ivring’s niece went to Bring Me the Horizon or that Ros Morgan wants a queue jumps for Peter Andre next week,” said Jon Tolley, store owner and local councillor, when accepting the award. “The mayor’s opening speech talked about innovation and building relations. Independent businesses are better at doing this. We’re closer to the customer and can react to changing needs quick.
“But more than that, it is more likely we are here for the love of the business we are in, we’re engrossed in it, and not on a career path to some head office job.”
The requirements for receiving the award included a business which did the best job at demonstrating ‘first class’ customer service, a clear, concise and impactful plan for growth, strong business, financial and market performance and a change in agility to adapt to consumer trends.
Its aim is to acknowledge the contribution that independent retailers make in sustaining the economy and the standard for customer service excellence they set out.
Chief executive of KingstonFirst, Ros Morgan, said: “This business demonstrates all the core values you would expect from an independent business. It supports other businesses in the community and within its industry. It recognises and fully delivers on the critical role “Indies” play on the High Street, drawing customers from far and wide to Kingston. It knows its customers better than they know themselves and is proud to represent them. This business has great personality – an “indie” through and through.”
Other categories for awards included Best Business for Customer Service, Best Business for Food and Hospitality, Best Charity or Social Enterprise, Best Creative and Media sector Business, Best Leisure and Entertainment Business, Best SME Business, Best Start up Business, Best Technology Company, Best Young Entrepreneur, Best Training Development and Apprenticeships and Commitment to the Community.
The store specialises in music genres including indie, house, punk, dub-step and drum ‘n’ bass. Banquet Records is loved by their clients for providing them with their favourite tunes and entertainment.
Indie stores are recognised in our society for their individual and more personal customer service that cannot be found in bigger stores. Indie stores are recognised in our society for their individual and more personal customer service that cannot be found in bigger stores.
“Yes, we need the cornerstone Marks and Spencers and Sainsbury’s, but without real and thriving indies it will be the homogenised town centre we are fighting to stop,” said Tolley. “There are hundreds of us in Kingston, so I want to dedicate this award to all of us and hope that everyone can value our place and what we do in our local community.”