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The Greats 2024: More ‘Great’ Reactions From Finalists

More Greats finalists have been sharing their reactions with GiftsandHome.net as the news sinks in that their shops are in the running for a trophy at The Gift Awards in May.

“We are thrilled to be recognised for the Best Retailer Initiative category,” said Greg Rose, co-owner of Maybugs which has three stores in Bexhill on Sea, Eastbourne and Hailsham.  “The cornerstone of our business ethos is that we are more than just a shop, and we constantly try to re-invent how we retail, and how our little business can benefit other small businesses in the local area too. The Gift Awards are always the highlight of our year, and every time we are nominated we get so excited about it.”

Above: A big thumbs up from John Dale (left) and Greg Rose, co-owners of Maybugs.
Above: A big thumbs up from John Dale (left) and Greg Rose, co-owners of Maybugs.

In Liverpool, Kate Cowie, a director of Utility, which has stores in Liverpool and Manchester, was also very thrilled. “That’s great news!! We’re especially delighted as this year we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary!”

Above: Team ‘Greats’ outside Utility’s Liverpool One flagship store.
Above: Team ‘Greats’ outside Utility’s Liverpool One flagship store.

In Glasgow, Soni Ahmed, who co-owns Mai Gifts with Samantha Rose, enthused: “This fantastic news! It’s particularly exciting because this is our 15thanniversary year and 22 is our lucky number which ties in with the 22nd year of the Greats!”

Continued Soni: “We’re just coming out of our busiest year ever and really wanted to be part of the awards this year to mark our anniversary. Therefore we’re so happy to have made the finals!”

At Etcetera in Hitchin, co-owner Katrina Raill exclaimed: “Wow!! Great news! What a way to finish a lovely birthday weekend away than finding out we have been nominated in The Greats. We are all very excited and obviously proud to bits. All our hard work in keeping the shop looking as good as possible has paid off and we’ll definitely be celebrating with a glass of fizz!”

Above: Proud Greats finalist: Etcetera’s Katrina Raill. The store is a finalist in the Best Retailer In Store/Window Display category.
Above: Proud Greats finalist: Etcetera’s Katrina Raill. The store is a finalist in the Best Retailer In Store/Window Display category.

Jo Williams, owner of Joco in Nuneaton, a finalist in the Best Retailer Initiative category, heard the news of her success as she was about to be interviewed ‘live’ by GB News. “OMG, that’s amazing!” she exclaimed.  “The team are thrilled! Adding to the excitement, GB News gave it a mention when they interviewed me for my reaction to the PM’s speech on Monday!”

Above: Jo Williams (centre) is shown outside her shop with her son Cameron (right) and Fiona Withey.
Above: Jo Williams (centre) is shown outside her shop with her son Cameron (right) and Fiona Withey.

There were loud cheers in Scotland too. “This is joyous news!” exclaimed Janet Hartree and her daughter Sara Baines, owners of Ewe & Me and Ewe Too in Grantown on Spey, a finalist in the Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Scotland category. “We love being part of this wonderful retail family and being a Greats finalist is a very good reason to celebrate. Let the fun begin!”

Concurred David Burton, director of Country Clutter in Chepstow, a finalist in the Independent Retailer of the Year – Midlands & Wales category, “We’re all very excited here – what super news!”, while Libby Holden, owner of Lovely Libby’s in Rayleigh, a finalist in the Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – London, South, South East & East Anglia category, enthused: “What wonderful news! Looking forward to another wonderful evening celebrating with everyone in the retail industry.”

Beck Prior of Prior in Bristol, a finalist in the West and South West category, added: “We work so hard, even when everything is against us, to keep our independent gift shop thriving among the retail giants around us. It is therefore such an honour to receive this nomination.”

Above: Beck Prior outside her shop in Bristol.
Above: Beck Prior outside her shop in Bristol.

Meanwhile, summing up the feeling of all finalists, Aga Marsden, owner of Highworth Emporium in Highworth, a finalist in the Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – West & South West category, exclaimed: “We’re absolutely over the moon!”

All winners, including the recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Achievement award, will be revealed at The Gift Awards on Thursday 16 May at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. For the third successive year, this incredible event will bring together The Giftware Association’s Gift of the Year Awards and The Greats gift retailer awards, organised and owned by Max Publishing, publishers of Progressive Gifts & Home/GiftsandHome.net.

At the glittering event, both gift product excellence and retail prowess will be recognised and rewarded in a true celebration of both sides of the UK gift industry.

An impressive line up of sponsors include:

Aspin, Autumn Fair, British Allied Trade Federation (BATF), Candlelight, Cardgains, Carte Blanche Greetings, Cotton & Grey, DKB, Exposé Travel, Gift Republic, The Giftware Association (GA), Gisela Graham, Harrogate Christmas & Gift Fair, Home & Gift, Life Charms, Lifestyle Motivates, London Stationery Show, Messe Frankfurt, N Smith, Progressive Gifts & Home, Progressive Greetings Live, Scotland Trade Fair, Spring Fair, Talking Tables and Widdop & Co. 

Tickets and tables for the awards can be booked via the Max Publishing digital box office event at Max-Tickets.net, or by contacting event organiser Createvents: clare@createvents.co.uk or 0118 334 0085.

To find out more about The Gift Awards and book tickets, visit www.thegiftawards.com; www.thegreatsawards.co.uk

Top: Cheers! Janet Hartree (left) and her daughter Sara Baines, owners of Ewe & Me and Ewe Too in Grantown on Spey, enjoy a glass of bubbly to celebrate being finalists in the Greats Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Scotland category.

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