‘Housewares Magazine’ columnist Martha Ferguson has scooped two of the independent retail industry’s most coveted honours.
The owner of Papylon kitchenware shop in Winchmore Hill, North London, was named The Cookshop & Housewares Association’s UK Young Retailer of the Year at the 2013 Gala Awards, organised by bira (British Independent Retailers Association).
The judges praised the quality of Martha’s entry and noted that “the achievements in her career so far are remarkable”. Describing her as very conscientious, thoughtful and professional, they said: “She’s very young and very brilliant. With people like her coming into this industry, the future of independent retailing is assured.”
Martha triumped over a shortlist of two finalists: Sarah Franklin of Kooks Unlimited at Richmond in Surrey and Heather Ridout of Loose’s Cookshop at Norwich in Norfolk.
She also beat off stiff competition to win the overall UK Young Retailer of the Year 2012 Award, which celebrates and supports the next generation of retail.
The judges said that “with the grit to start her own business, and with one store flying, she is a truly exceptional example of a young retailer”.
The other bira division’s UK Young Retailer of the Year winners are: Emily Motts of RE Thorns & Co in Norfolk (BHF: British Hardware Federation); Lucy Codner of Pets Corner in Devon (PPRA: Pet Product Retail Association); Frances Procter of Fenwick in Brent Cross (for bira members who sell multiple products); Tim Wiffen of Ellis Dawe & Son in Malvern (BAGMA – The British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association- Young Employee of the Year); and Charlotte Phillip of The Dressing Room in St Albans (FAB: Fashion Association of Britain).
The awards were presented at an evening ceremony held at the Four Pillars Hotel in Cotswolds Water Park on May 16.
The Gala Awards Dinner represent an opportunity for bira members to reflect on and celebrate the very best in the independent retail industry.
Bira national president Michael Hughes said the UK Young Retailer of the Year entrants “are an impressive group, who will shine in any retail company. If they are the future of independent retail, I know we are going to be safe in their hands.”