BEAUTICIANS and stylists will be hoping to highlight their strengths at this year's Reading Retail Awards.

Cocoon Hair and Beauty, based on Cross Street in the town centre, has been nominated in the 'Your Favourite Shop' category following a number of recommendations.

Gayle Merritt, salon manager, has been in charge of the shop for three months and is keen to get the best out of her new team, in order to repeat previous success with the awards.

She said: "There have been a lot of changes over the last year and we are hoping to expand as much as we can to attract new people.

"We work hard to bring in specialist products and offer a wide range of services. I would say we are different to the other salons in town because of our friendly service.

"Retail generally is struggling but we want to be able to get it back up and running throughout the town. We are generally very busy and I truly believe that is because of our friendly approach."

Established in 2009, Cocoon celebrated after winning the Independent Retailer Award two years later.

As well as having a winning attitude towards customers, staff go out of their way to help worthy causes.

Cocoon recently held a pampering evening for the homeless in collaboration with the Churches in Reading Drop in Centre team.

Gayle added: "I have previously worked more in the cosmetics side of things, but I wanted to get back into the salon business.

"It does make it even more special to be nominated in this category, because it is about more than just how good people see us in our own trade."

Nominations for this year's Reading Retail Awards close on July 11, so make sure you get your entry forms sent in before the deadline.

Forms are available at Broad Street Mall and The Oracle.

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