A florist celebrated picking up the top honour at the Retailer of the Year Awards evening.

The best businesses in St Albans were honoured in a glittering gala night at the Alban Arena on Monday night.

The Flower Box, in Village Arcade, high street, was named the overall winner after impressing mystery shoppers with the unique quality and customer service that caters for all types of occasions.

Owner Zoe Lafbery, who has been a florist for more than 30 years and opened The Flower Box in 2014, said: “It was amazing to win and we did not expect it all. We are all very proud flower girls.

“It was the first time we had been nominated and we have already put the winning trophy in a new display cabinet in our shop.

“It is so great that local people have chosen us as their favourite independent retailer. We always receive so many compliments on a daily basis from customers so it is amazing to be recognised like this.”

The Retailer of the Year Awards made a comeback this year after being set up nearly 10 years ago by cllr Roma Mills, who represents Batchwood and Martin Buhagiar, the former editor of the Review.

The competition was built up over the years up with the support of the St Albans Civic Society, the Chamber of Commerce and the District Council, with the aim of promoting small businesses in the city centre.

People began nominating their favourite retailers in October last year before mystery shoppers visited each place and chose five shortlisted businesses for each category.

Here is a rundown of the winners:

Shortlisted businesses for the Market Traders category:

• Chrissy’s Cupcakes

• Martin Firsht Lady’s Fashions

• Munib Islam Telephone Accessories

• So Cosy Blankets & Throws

• Tyler’s Fruit & Veg

The winner is Tyler’s Fruit & Veg

Shortlisted businesses for Fashion & Accessories:

• Chesca Market Place

• D Copperfield, Chequer Street

• French Connection, Christopher Place

• Jane & Dada, George Street

• The Dressing Room, High Street

The winner of this category is The Dressing Room

Hair & Beauty shortlisted businesses:

• Alternative Barbering Company, George Street

• Clipso , The Maltings

• Jo Banks Salon & Spa, Chequer Street

• Lee Moran, Holywell Hill

• Wacky Barber Verulam Road

The winner of this category is Clipso

Food & Drink category:

• Buongiorno Italia, Lattimore Road

• Hotel Chocolate, The Maltings

• Juice Pharm, St Peter’s Street

• The Beer Shop, London Road

• Tomaka Spirits Boutique Christopher Place

The winner is Tomaka Spirits Boutique

Specialist Shops category:

• Chantilly Interiors, Catherine Street

• Costias, Holywell Hill

• Country to Coast Christopher Place

• Rock, Pop, Candy, Holywell Hill

• The Flower Box Village Arcade

The winner of this category is The Flower Box

Star Award winner : Jane & Dada