NOMINATIONS for this year's Reading Retail Awards are now closed, but competition sponsors continue to sing the praises of independent businesses who are vying for success.

Projecting the reputation of Reading as a hub for business and excellent customer service is an important part of the awards and for more than a decade the Reading Retail Awards has been revealing the 'unsung heroes' of the town.

Graham Mountford, general manager of Broad Street Mall, said he would be delighted to see a number of his shops scoop top prize in a range of categories, but he believes the prestigious business awards are about much more than individual success.

He said: "We have been a sponsor of the retail awards since they started. We are a general sponsor and we are a retail emporium, so we are very passionate about customer service.

"The people in the shops are the unsung heroes and it is vital that people know how much hard work goes into delivering quality services on a consistent basis.

"They produce a terrific service throughout the town and the purpose Reading Retail Awards is to show that the service in Reading is second to none."

"If we get a reputation for fantastic customer service it will stay in the customer's mind. It is worth celebrating and highlighting the retail and restaurant industry.

"I have been here for three and a half years and it is clear that Broad Street Mall has a lot to offer to the retail industry in Reading.

"We are different in the sense that people come to us on almost a daily basis and get to know people on a first-name basis.

"We have a reputation for being a really friendly and intimate shopping mall."

Tickets are now on sale for the Reading Retail Awards 2017, which will this year be hosted by Sangeeta Bhabra from ITV and former Reading FC legend Ady Williams.

All finalists will receive two free tickets, while additional tickets can be purchased at £75 at