LiveRetailer of the Year: live coverage from the award ceremony

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  • Awards will be presented for cafes and restaurants, food and drink, hair and beauty, market trader, specialist shops and fashion and accessories.


That's it folks. Thanks for tuning in. One last performance from Ricky Lopez for us. See you all next year...


Greys has been named the Overall Winner at this year’s Retailer of the Year Awards.

The hairdresser based in Christopher Place was presented with their prize by committee chairman Roma Mills and Mayor of St Albans City and District Geoff Harrison.

Last year the barbers Alternative Barbering Co scooped the award.

Martin Buhaglar said: “Everyone that has been shortlisted is a winner."

Roma Mills thanked everyone for coming and said it was about giving “three cheers for the city centre”.

She said: “St Albans is our city. We want it to work, we want it to prosper.
“Winners have come from all around the city.”

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Claire Mariscal has been at the salon for 12 years and manager for eight. She said: "It's brilliant to have won. We are really pleased.

"We aim to give a five star service everyday to our customers. It is nice that that has been recognised."

Receptionist Abbie Virgo said it was "amazing". She said: "We are very, very proud."

Donna Potts, who works at the salon, said: "All our stylists are trained to very high standards." 



Verdi’s Trattoria has been named the winner of the Cafes and Restaurants category of this year’s Retailer of the Year competition.

Staff from the restaurant which is based in Clarence Road, were presented with the award by the competition’s committee’s member Councillor Heidi Allen.

The restaurant beat off competition from Brasserie Blanc, Jamie’s Italian, L’Italiana, and Thompson.

Verdi’s Trattoria take the title from last year’s winner L’Italiana.

Councillor Allen said restaurants and cafes in St Albans are the “heart” of the city, and people “flock from everywhere” to visit them.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Lello Distadio has owned the Italian restaurant for 23 years. He said: "I am really, really happy and excited.

"I think we won this award because of the freshness and quality of our food and great service we always try to give to the customers."


The Dressing Room has been named the winner of the Fashion and Accessories category of this year’s Retailer of the Year competition.

The shop, which is based in High Street, was presented with the award by council officer Maria Cutler.

Staff at the boutique beat off competition from the other nominated stores, which were Gladrags, Little Viking, Long Tall Sally, and Roman.

Last year the Fashion and Accessories prize went to Carousel The Handbag Boutique.

Mrs Cutler said the shop has won many awards, and is a “really interesting” shop which has shows designed by Vivienne Westwood.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Deryane Tadd, owner of the business for nine years, said: "We are really surprised. It is a real honour."

Ms Tadd put the award down to "passion, innovation, and hard work".


President of St Albans Civic Society Geraint John has presented Raft with Shop Window 2013.

Raft beat off competition from other shops in the city. Cupcakery in Market Place was named second prize for its “Christmassy theme and products”.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:


Festive Pub of the Year winner The Boot was presented with an award by Councillor Beric Read.

The pub was crowned winner in December, with the Hare and Hounds in Sopwell Lane winning second prize.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:


The crowd are being entertained by Ricky Lopez during the interval

St Albans & Harpenden Review:


The Star Award has been presented to Empire Records.

Introduced in 2010, the Star Award aims to highlight traders who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Peter Goodman from St Albans Chamber of Commerce presented the award, which did not have a shortist.

Martin Buhagiar said the store, based in Heritage Close, made a big impression on the mystery shoppers.

Manager Dave Burgess said he was "elated".

He said: "I wasn't expecting it because this is our first year in St Albans. It has been a good first year for us and I hope we are offering something different for our customers, there seems to be a lot of interest."

St Albans & Harpenden Review:


Greys Hairdressing has been named the winner of the Hair and Beauty category of this year’s Retailer of the Year competition.

The barbers, in Christopher Place, were presented with the award by Alastair Woodgate from St Albans Chamber of Commerce.

Last year the Hair and Beauty prize went to Alternative Barbering Co.

Other nominations in this category were Alternative Barbering Co, Champneys, Elle.Es Hair Studio and Lush.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:


The Cheesewheeler has been named the winner of the Market Traders category.
Staff from the shop were presented with the award Eric Roberts from the civic society.

Last year the prize went to Johns Fabrics in St Peter’s Street.

There were 23 nominations for this year’s award and Mr Roberts said it was “very close”.

Staff at the store beat off competition from the other nominated stalls, which were Alban Blinds, Anthony Lewis Photography, Card Stall Sisters, and Carpet Walker.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Martijn Kanap, owner, said he was "very happy" to have won. He has been nominated four times previously.

He said: "I am really excited. It was very much a surprise becasue there is always very strong competition. I think we offer a personal service to the customers and good quality products."

Mr Kanap has owned the business for seven years. 


Baked Nation has been named the winner of the Food and Drink category of this year’s Retailer of the Year competition.

The shop, in Victoria Street, was presented with the award by Councillor Melvyn Teare.

Last year the Food and Drink prize went to Hatch, in The Maltings.

The shop managed to beat off competition from the other nominated food and drink establishments, which were Hotel Chocolat, Simmons Baker, Tomoka Spirits, West Cornwall Pasty Co.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Agron Ballo, owner, said he was "speechless" to win the award after being in business for only four months.

He said: "I didn't expect to be nominated let alone win it. It is only the beginning but we seem to have been recognised and the hard work is paying off.

"I hope we won because we are the only business in St Albans that bakes real artisan bread daily."


The prize for specialist shop in this year’s Retailer of the Year competition has been awarded to Chantilly Interiors.

The shop, which is based in Catherine Street, was handed the award by Councillor Roma Mills.

They took the title from last year’s winner Waterstones, which is based in St Peters Street.

Also shortlisted in this category were Empire Records, Pots of Art, Printed Clothing Ltd, Streamer Trading Cook Shop.

Councillor Mills said: "Everyone’s that’s nominated is a winner because it means their customers value them.”

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Jacqui Arnold, owner for five years, said: "I'm delighted, really thrilled. We are unique in St Albans and we just give a very personal service.

"We were nominated around 4-5 years ago so it is nice to finally be recognised."


Martin Buhagiar has welcomed the crowd to the seventh awards ceremony. He thanked the retailers for their good service.

A number of retailers have been nominated for the first time this year, with a record 2,200 nominations received.

Mr Buhagiar said the response has been "better than ever before" and that all retailers should be "proud" to have made it so far.


Alderman Melvyn Teare is warming up the crowd before former Review editor Martin Buhagiar is introduced


Follow us on Twitter: @Review_Eagle for coverage of tonight’s ceremony. We will tweet using the hashtag: ROTY14


Good evening from the Alban Arena. We will be bringing you live coverage from tonight’s awards ceremony, so stay tuned to hear the winners. 

Elvis Shmelvis, aka Ricky Lopez,  is currently warming up the crowd. The ceremony will begin in ten minutes. 


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