The dynamic role of the Surrey store team in their local community was hailed as inspiring by the judges
Proud of My Store, the national competition dedicated to celebrating the UK’s top retail teams, today announced its 2022 overall champion (27the September 2022): The original factory store in Haslemere, Surrey.
the top proud of my store The award was collected by store manager Karen Coombes (pictured) and her team at a glittering awards ceremony in London last week, hosted by the awards’ founder, Critizr, to celebrate the second successful year of the competition.
Out of 300 entries, Karen wowed the judges with her inspiring story of pride, passion and commitment to charity, guided by her belief that individual stores must play a vital role in building strong and vibrant high streets and local communities.
Despite being one of the smallest branches in the Original Factory Shop’s 167 strong UK network, the small Surrey-based team pioneered a new approach to charities, which has now been adopted nationwide. national, earning them a reputation as ‘the smallest store with the biggest heart’.
His busy schedule of charity work includes setting up donation stations for his local food bank; and ‘Trolley Tuesdays’ with food bank-friendly items priced at just £1. She has also partnered with local charity Community Kit Bag, promoting the power of sport for mental well-being and offering her shop as a free meeting point for local groups.
Karen and her team received their Proud of My Store trophy along with a check for £2,000, which will be split amongst their favorite local charities. She said: ‘On behalf of the entire team, I am overwhelmed to receive this honor. I have always said that we are the smallest store with the biggest heart, and I am very proud of the team and the work they have done. Being recognized amongst our peers across the UK with this Proud of My Shop award means a lot to us, our high street and the whole area. The £2,000 donation will do a lot of good for our community and I can’t wait to share this good news with our charity partners.”
The winners of eight categories were also announced at the event on London’s Sunborn Yacht last Thursday.
- Pets at Home Rochdale (store experience);
- FatFace Saint Austell (environmental);
- New Look, Porth (Commercial);
- The Original Factory Shop Glasgow (Public Choice);
- Pets at Home Altrincham (Team Spirit);
- New Look South Shields (Customer Satisfaction);
- BP Maidstone (Facing Adversity);
- Card Factory East Kilbride (Charity and Community).
Founded in 2021 by customer engagement specialists Critizr, the Proud of My Store competition is the only awards scheme dedicated to recognizing and rewarding the invaluable role local store staff play in retail, highlighting the value they local big box stores give back to their communities.
Nicolas Hammer, Co-Founder and CEO of Critizr congratulated Karen and her team on their victory. He said:
‘The entire team was impressed by Karen’s vision for her store. No matter what has been thrown at her, she has never wavered in her belief in the power of local, that local stores are at the heart of our communities. Karen’s store is a masterclass in relationships: from staff to customers, from good place causes to other retailers, you are playing your part in creating a thriving community and are a worthy winner. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make., however, we received almost 300 wonderful, surprising, emotional and joyful entries for Proud of My Store. It was a privilege to read each one and see the power of local in action in UK stores. me can not wait and see what 2023 will bring.’
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