An employee at one of Yorkshire’s largest garden centres is hoping to triumph in a prestigious national retail competition.
Tong Garden Centre’s lifestyle buyer Zoe Whitehead has reached the final in the Retail Employee of the Year category of The Greats Gift Retailer Awards 2017 after being nominated by a supplier to the Tong Lane business.
It came as a pleasant surprise to Zoe, who has worked at Bradford-based Tong Garden Centre for 18 months. She said, although the news was unexpected, she was extremely pleased to be put forward for the award.
“I love working as giftware buyer and merchandiser at Tong and am proud of how the gift and home department at Tong has been transformed by inspiring ranging and great displays.
“Having good relationships with our suppliers is one of the things I enjoy about working here and it’s wonderful to be able to source and buy new and exciting products for the garden centre.
“We’re looking forward to attending, what I’m sure will be, a glitzy event in the capital,” she added.
Zoe’s line manager, Sharon McNair said: “We’re so pleased for Zoe, she’s a much-valued member of the team here and a great ambassador for Tong.
“This nomination is a testament to her hard work and commitment and she thoroughly deserves a place in the final. We have our fingers crossed for her.”
Zoe is in the running with six other nominees from across the country in her category.
Launched by trade magazine, Progressive Gifts & Home, the Greats Awards have been recognising and rewarding the UK’s best gift retailers regionally and nationally for 15 years. Independent and multiple gift retailers are able to enter the awards which are also open niche retailers and garden centres.
Sue Marks, editor of Progressive Gifts & Home, said: “Being selected as a finalist is a fantastic achievement. There was a huge entry this year, with some outstanding, first class entries.”
All retail finalists were decided as a result of an industry-wide poll of gift suppliers, representatives and agents and were validated by a panel of experts. The awards cover many aspects of the retail industry including Best In-store or Window Display and regional recognition for Independent Gift Retailer of the Year.
Winners of the Greats Retail Awards 2017 will be announced on May 4 during a ‘crystal themed’ ceremony and lunch to take place in the ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, in London.