THE first nominations for this year's Reading Retail Awards have started to come in.

Now in its sixth year, the awards recognise retail outlet excellence across thirteen categories including Independent Retailer of the Year, Manager of the Year and, most prestigiously, Retailer of the Year.

Nominations can be submitted by customers for four consumer based categories: Best Restaurant, Service with a Smile, My Favourite Shop and Cafés, Coffees and Lunch.

Early front runners in the Cafés, Coffee and Lunch category include the Piazza Café in the Harris Arcade, nominated by Caroline Gibbons for its quality and value breakfasts, and the Merchants Place based Shed, nominated by Damien Passmore.

Mr Passmore said: "It's always perfect service every time.

"The food is great, the staff are super-friendly and the menu is a great balance of the familiar and unusual.

"Whenever I want lunch in town, I always go there don't go anywhere else."

Anna Sadowska nominated Smaczek Polish Shop in Broad Street Mall for the My Favourite Shop category for its fresh and quality food.

"You can find variety of Polish products and also delicious cakes," she said.

"The people working in that shop are friendly and I think it deserves that award!"

Juliane Chappelat, who put Waring's Bakery on Reading Road forward for the same category, said: "Waring's Bakery is a lovely, down to earth family business that sells great breads and wonderful treats.

"I had an excellent time on a bread baking course there.

"I learned how to do all my favourite breads in a fun atmosphere, got the chance to connect with other people from Reading and got treated with a beautiful afternoon tea whilst the breads where in the oven.

"To finish it all off, I walked away with a freezer load of bread and an apron as a  souvenir of the great afternoon!"

Nominations close on July 11.  To have your say log on to