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Independents last chance to enter Top Merchant Awards

Published:  03 January, 2011

Independent merchants are being urged this week to put themselves forward for the inaugural Harpers' Top Merchant Awards.

The new initiative is designed to recognise excellence amongst the independent wine and spirit retail sector across a number of categories.

The awards, which are being held in association with Italian producer, Gruppo Italiano Vini and the Wines of Chile, give independents the chance to start 2011 with national recognition for their daily efforts.

The initiative looks to highlight those merchants that are leading the way in their field by offering a quality service to their customers.

The closing date for the awards is on January 10 and the finalists will be selected by a panel of industry judges in time for the presentation at a special ceremony to be held on the evening of the SITT tasting at Vinopolis, London on February 23.

Merchants can enter as many relevant categories as they like. The awards and selected criteria include:

? Best Independent Wine Merchant (three stores or less)
? Best Independent Wine Merchant (over three stores)
(criteria for both includes: analysis of range of products, details of turnover against profit, involvement in local community, how you stand out from the crowd?)

? Best Independent Wine Merchant Buying Team (will analyse product range, how the range matches customer profile, and effective sourcing practices)

? Best Independent Wine Merchant Digital Strategy (what the strategy is, evidence of customer involvement, impact on sales and profile)

? Best Independent Wine Merchant Wholesale Operation (evidence of developing offer to private customers, wholesale strategy, diversity of range and sales performance)

? Best Independent Wine Merchant Employer (will assess the recruitment process, training offered, staff motivation, loyalty and team spirit)

? Best Independent Wine Merchant for Innovation (examples of new industry leading innovations and special events)

? Best Independent Wine Merchant for Outstanding Customer Service (evidence of staff knowledge, how you go the extra mile, PR and communication skills, special events and how you add value to customers).

In all submissions independents can send as much supporting material as they feel necessary to comply with the category's criteria but each entry must have a supporting statement of no longer than 500 words.

Further details and entry forms are available from Please send all entries either by email or post. By post send to Top Merchant Awards, Rikki Mudie, William Reed Business Media, Broadfield Park, Crawley, Sussex, RH11 9RT or by email to For more information please contact Rikki Mudie on 01293 610396 or visit