Retailer of the Year - Warings Bakery

Reading Chronicle:

The winner of this most prestigious award is a retailer chosen by the judges that in their opinion has made the biggest impact or contributed most to the Reading Retail Community in the past 12 months or so.

Trading since 1932 and still going strong, this is one of the longest running family businesses that continues to trade across Reading. 

When you go shopping, a good retailer can make all the difference by offering a reliable service and offering helpful advice.

The winner of this year's ultimate award continually offers the highest standards of service in their sector of retailing, enabling our local community to shop with confidence.  

They offer a vast array of support to the local community and charities and are a popular hit with networking groups and local retailers alike.  

But this coveted award is not about what they have created internally, it has been given to this retailer because of the hard work and perseverance by the team, creating consistently high standards and delivering innovative products.

Multiple Retailer of the Year (sponsored by The Car Wash Co)

Winner - Sainsbury's

Reading Chronicle:

Sainsbury’s is committed to helping customers live well for less.

They want to make their lives better and easier every day by giving them what they want, across food, clothing homeware and financial services - when, where and how they want it.

As a group, Sainsbury’s donated £45.8 million to charities and other good causes during 2015/16. Locally, their fund-raising efforts included supporting Sport Relief, donating to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, brand association with Reading Pride, Race for Life, the Toys and Tins appeal, and the pancake day races.

Community relations are at the heart of Sainsbury’s marketing strategy, the heart of the business, with the focus on the customer.

Charlotte Bernard, PR ambassador: “I am so surprised, I didn’t think we would win it. “We do an amazing amount of work in the community, and we do some amazing work for so many people.

“Sainsbury’s is not just a supermarket - we do work with charities and we promote healthy eating.

“Sainsbury’s is a very good company, and wonderful to work for.”

Shortlisted: Chelsea Building Society, Slaters, Specsavers.

Service with a smile award (sponsored by Reading Buses)

Team award: Winner - Grosvenor Casinos (

Reading Chronicle:

Reading South in the perfect 24-hour destination with a restaurant, bar, live show bar and games lounge. Showcasing the latest entertainment, you can get "up close and personal" with headline entertainers. Hand-picked wines, beers and spirits complement their wonderful variety of dishes in the restaurant, which offers a variety of contemporary, quality cuisines services in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.

Elaine Wood, sales manager: "We are so thrilled. I've got a fantastic team and I am extremely proud of this award. This award is down to fantastic customer service."

Shortlisted: Bespoke Nails, Iwonas.

Service with a smile individual award (sponsored by Reading Buses)

Winner: Tara Bhatti (PC World

Reading Chronicle:

Knowledgeable, friendly and courteous, three words that have been used to describe Tara.
Working alongside a team of like-minded people, she has received an incredible amount of positive feedback. 
Consistently proving that her skill set contains a number of attributes, she is a credit to the business, showing pure professionalism from the moment she arrives, to the moment she leaves.

Tara, 29 from Whitley: “I am completely shocked. I was a stay at home mum before I studied IT at college, and then I joined PC World five years ago. 
“I’ve got some great colleagues, who are very supportive and there is a lot of enthusiasm from our team, which keeps you going.”

My favourite shop (sponsored by Subway)
Winner - True Community Co-op (

Reading Chronicle:
True Community Co-op is a not-for-profit community cooperative run by the community for the community specialising in organic foods. They aim to provide an outlet for local produce, working in collaboration with local farmers and artisans. They have a strong presence and a reliable cohort of customers close to their premises in Grove Road, Emmer Green, as well as further afield and the local primary school.
Steve Dismukes, shop manager: "This award was certainly not expected but we are delighted. I think it reflects the service we provide for the local community. We are Reading's only community-owned and operated food shop, with a commitment to provide organic, ethical food which is produced locally. We have very enthusiastic volunteers who help run the shop and some great customers."
Shortlisted: Boswells, Eclectic Games, Terrys.

Cafes, coffee & lunch award (presented by Jack FM)
Winner - Boswells (

Reading Chronicle:

Boswells cafe is a fast-moving counter service operation, offering a great value, satisfying extensive menu, served by friendly staff in a comfortable restaurant within the Broad Street Mall.
It is open early, serving breakfast, pastries and coffees, followed by an extensive lunch menu of freshly-made sandwiches and salads, toasted panini, pasties and pies, jacket potatoes and grills. Their afternoon offer includes cakes, patisserie and sweet treats.
Esref Agirbas, manager: "We have waited a while for this award and finally it has happened. We are really happy. There are so many cafes opened in town and so it is an honour to receive this award. Broad Street Mall offers a great location for us. It's having a new look, which is great. I am fortunate to have a great team working for me."
Shortlisted: Five Guys, Pret a Manger, Quantum Web Cafe

Restaurant of the year (sponsored by Deliveroo).
Winner - Himalaya Momo House (

Reading Chronicle:
Situated in Farnham Drive, Reading, the staff of Himalaya Momo House are determined to bring the flavour and foods of Nepal and North India to our shores. Along with classic Indian curries and famous dishes, the restaurant's menu features less well known cuisines, including Nepalese delicacies. An inspired menu, locally-sourced ingredients changed seasonally, impeccable service - definitely worth a visit.
Emma & Lee Curtis: "Unfortunately, Bir was on holiday so we are friends of his and came along to accept the award on their behalf. We are delighted for the Himalaya Momo House. The quality of the cuisine is excellent, and they are a really friendly team. I know that Bir will be blown away when he hears news of the award."
Shortlisted: Cau, Cilantro.

Trainee of the year award (sponsored by Reading College)
Winner - Vicky Cox, Kool Kidz Kutz (

Reading Chronicle:

Vicky joined the Kool Kidz Kutz team as a trainee in 2015 and has never looked back. We have seen her grow in confidence, displaying fantastic patience, passion for her work, unrivalled inspiration and, above all, a great understanding of both the desire of the children and the parents.
Vicky's cutting techniques, performance and honesty are second to none, and she is the first prepared to help anyone who joins the team as a trainee. The proven stylist that she has now become within the short period of time she has worked here, is testament to her desire to succeed and a positive outlook on life.
Vicky, 25, from Tilehurst: "I'm shocked and surprised. I've always wanted to do hairdressing since I was a little girl. I studied at Reading College for two years and I have been here for 10 months. The team is absolutely brilliant, my manager is lovely and the customers are great. This job takes a lot of patience, but it is very rewarding. I just want to work my way up."
Shortlisted: Sunil Obhrai (Specsavers), Rebecca Blain & James Stokes (Fox & Hounds).

Shooting Star award (sponsored by Premier Angels School of Motoring)
Winner - Jasleen Gill, Debenhams (

Reading Chronicle:
Jas joined Debenhams Reading as the fashion accessories manager in February 2015. She initially showed a great pride in her role, listening and learning to gain experience. She sought first to understand, before trying to influence change. This immediately bought her credibility and loyalty from her team, and her peers in store.
At the beginning of 2016, Jas was promoted and now has overall responsibility for menswear in store. A keen driver of internal store succession planning, offering individual coaching where necessary and investing time for competency reviews and sign-offs with her team, Jas has developed training plans, workshops, refresher sessions, a buddy system and team-building exercises.
Jas, 28, from Earley: "I am so surprised with this award. Debenhams is a fantastic place to work and I have the most amazing team around me. A lot of this award is down to them. They are really supportive, very patient and they are good at embracing new ideas. I am now on a training programme to become a department manager."

Shortlisted: Taz Rajput (House of Fraser), Annie De Mattels (Cau), Ellie Chapman (Dancia).

Manager of the Year (sponsored by Hammerson)
Winner - Darren Heath, Cau (

Reading Chronicle:
Darren is the general manager of Cau Reading, responsible for delivering the new Cau brand to Reading and the Oracle. Appointed after just four months of opening, he has successfully analysed the business, its customers and the staff performance to identify a strategy to exceed all expectations.
December saw Darren and his team executing 1600 covers a week, resulting in an outstanding 15 per cent increase on budget. With continued success in the quieter winter months, this successfully delivered a 12 per cent increase.
Darren Heath: "I was very shocked to get the award. There are plenty of very good restaurants in Reading, so it is great to win the award because people can see how Cau has developed. Ours is a well-oiled business, and people enjoying working for us. Business is going very well and receiving this award is a big boost."
Shortlisted: Mathew Guy (Jessops), Manu Dhaumya (PC World).

Promotional initiative award (sponsored by Reading BID)
Winner - Subway (

Reading Chronicle:
The Subway system is committed to providing a wide range of great tasting, healthier food choices, while reducing our environmental footprint and creating a positive influence in the communities we serve. 
Subway Reading serves, supports and champions a vast number of community and charitable events and activities around the town, while continuing to promote themselves as a key food outlet to the Reading community.
From free samples to free tickets and money saving voucher booklets, the promotional and marketing tactics adopted are combined with strategy to drive day-to-day growth, improve dwell time and ensure sustainability.
Dina Patel, franchise owner: "We are very excited by this award. I've won many accolades previously, but this is my first one with Subway Reading. I look after six branches. I look forward to every day working with the team, who I am very proud of."
Shortlisted: Eclectic Games, Jessops.

Health, Beauty & Well-being award (sponsored by The Berkshire Independent Hospital)
Winner - Nicol's Beautique (

Reading Chronicle:
Nicol's Beautique have a simple philosophy - every customer is important. Every customer deserves to feel special from the moment they step into the salon, until the moment they leave. The salon offers a wide range of bespoke beauty treatments, specialising in Elemis skin care and Eminence organic skin care.
The luxurious salon, range of beauty treatments, treatment rooms, relaxation and professional staff ensure a personal service that is second to none. With a team that goes above and beyond to give customers appointments at times which suit them - even at short notice - they are friendly, efficient and highly professional. Truly a hidden treasure in the heart of Tilehurst.
Nicol Archer, owner: "I am absolutely thrilled. I've been doing beauty therapy for 20 years and ever since I got my first salon in Norcot Road, Tilehurst, the business has grown. I now employ five members of staff and I love what I do. I am very passionate about beauty and very particular about standards. It is getting harder and harder because there is more competition."
Shortlisted: Bespoke Nails & Beauty, De La Cruz, Mirror Mirror.

Out of Town award (sponsored by Grosvenor Casinos)
Winner - Fox & Hounds (

Reading Chronicle:

Located opposite Hosehill Lake in Theale, the Fox & Hounds is believed to be around 200 years old and was originally a drinking venue for local farmers back in the early 1800s, known then as the Drum & Monkey.
With customers leaving comments after visiting such as "amazing staff and great service", "service with a smile always, as well as great food" or "fabulous atmosphere, nothing is too much for them, knowledgeable staff offering great recommendations", this is a Wadworth & Co pub that delivers excellence constantly.
With excellent food - including blackboard specials - and drinks such as several well-kept Wadworths ales, Weston's cider, decent wines and coffee - this is a gastro pub to be reckoned with.
Jayne Tilsley, joint owner with Miles Teece: "OMG! I am truly amazed! We've had the Fox & Hounds for a year, and when we took over business was really slow. But we have attracted a new clientele , and our trade varies from businessmen for lunch, along with families coming along throughout the week. We were on holiday in Cornwall and drove almost five hours to get to the awards. It was really worth it!"
Shortlisted: Abbey Widows, League of Friends.

Independent Retailer of the Year Awards (sponsored by the Reading Chronicle)
Winner - Eclectic Games (

Reading Chronicle:
Eclectic Games is now a multi award-winning business which, over the past year, has seen a 14 per cent growth in turnover, doubled the amount of staff it employs, successfully moved to a fantastic new location, doubled the retail space it occupies and trebled the space available for its best unique selling point - the games rooms. 
The business continues to be dedicated to selling customers the best games, offering in-depth advice and an ability to join a huge, friendly and diverse community of games players, while trying out the vast variety of games from an in-store library.
Darrell Ottery, one of the owners: "Very pleased with this award. We won retailer of the year in 2014, so this is great. Ours is a niche industry, and our philosophy is one of getting it right. We've been in town for 10 years and we have seen a massive improvement in business. The Brexit vote has presented some challenges to us recently, especially around the dollar and Euro currencies." 
Shortlisted: League of Friends, Meadway Travel, Premier Tyres.