The most sought after prizes in the wholesaling calendar were presented in front of a sell-out audience at the FWD Annual Dinner and Gold Medal Awards at the Savoy.
The presentation ceremony was presided over by FWD chairman Rodney Hunt, assisted by Kevin Jones, commercial director of Nestlé Rowntree, sponsors of the Gold Medal Awards to wholesalers, and by Chris Rose, marketing director of Landmark Wholesale, sponsors of the awards to manufacturers.
Kuldeep Maini, a partner in Maini Cash Carry in Birmingham, was the first winner announced, receiving the Gold Medal for Young Wholesaler of the Year. He was nominated for the prize on the grounds that he gets very close to his customers, but also for his flair and response to market opportunities especially in the licensed categories.
The Gold Medal for the Independent Cash and Carry Manager of the Year was presented to David Grimes, deputy manager of the Parfetts Cash and Carry depot in Sheffield.
The citation highlighted the role he played in the planning and building stages of Parfetts’ newest depot.
The winner of the Multiple Cash and Carry Manager of the Year was Andrew Westwood, manager of the Costco warehouse at Leeds. He was described as a great role model for up and coming management and his depot has exceeded very demanding sales and recruitment budgets, delivering a bottom line profit which was well over plan.
Ivan Snelling from Thomas Ridleys was presented with the Gold Medal for the Independent Delivered Depot Manager of the Year. Having joined his company as a van driver in 1968 he worked his way up, playing a major part in its development into the foodservice sector and its expansion as a multi-temperature distributor, and has been appointed to the board of directors.
The winner of the Gold Medal for the Multiple Delivered Depot Manager of the Year has a record of management success in each of the four locations where he has been general manager for his company. Michael McCann, general manager of the Northampton depot of Bestway, was praised for his enthusiasm, strength of character and professionalism.
A second Gold Medal in the Multiple Delivered Depot Manager of the Year category was awarded because the judges were unable to separate the nominees. Gordon Moore was praised for his performance since he became general manager of the 3663 depot in Salisbury, increasing sales to independent caterers by Â£2m a year and profitability by 29% year on year, and lifting the depot’s first time order fulfilment figure to 99.2%.
Naim Khan, general manager of Bestway’s Luton depot, was praised for his customer care and customer service skills ensuring customers return to his depot again and again, and was presented with the Gold Medal for Services to Retailers.
The Gold Medal for Wholesale Service to Caterers was won by Marcus Singh, senior trading controller at Hyperama’s Nottingham depot. The citation said he had quickly earned a strong reputation as a fair negotiator who delivers to suppliers what he promises and works hard with key suppliers to ensure his catering customers have the range and the promotions they need to run their businesses successfully.
The Gold Medals for suppliers are awarded on a first past the post vote by wholesalers, in a process supervised by outside chartered accountants.
The Gold Medal for the Drinks Brand of the Year was won by Strongbow Cider after the recent rejuvenation of the brand, and was presented to Keith Hogg, sales managing director off trade at Scottish Courage Brands.
Walkers Potato Heads was awarded the Gold Medal for the Grocery Brand of the Year and Mark Young, director of wholesale sales, received the award for the brand which was launched in 2005 and is already bigger than many established competitors.
The Gold Medal for Foodservice Brand of the Year was won by Tetley Tea and was presented to sales director Ian Bradley, after sales increased 27.9% in a flat market.
Coca-Cola achieved a delivered service level of 99.67% to wholesale in the year to September 2005 winning it the Gold Medal for Service Company of the Year in Retail Products, which was presented to trading director wholesale Tony Holmes.
The Gold Medal for the Service Company of the Year in Foodservice was won by HJ Heinz Foodservice and was presented to national accounts controller Peter Whitehead, in recognition of the company’s support for wholesalers and its high service levels.
The Gold Medal for the Best Trade Advertising in ProWholesaler was won by United Biscuits “for its ability to get its message across efficiently and specifically to the wholesale market”, and was presented to cash and carry controller Rebecca Gregory.
The final Gold Medal presentation of the evening was for Special Services to the Industry, and was presented to Alan Twigg, group strategy and new business director of PR company Nexus Communications. The citation highlighted his commitment and energetic work on the FWD PR Action Group (PRAG), the committee running the My Shop is Your Shop campaign and National Independents’ Day, which went “far beyond the call of duty”.
The immense amount of work carried out by the FWD on behalf of its members and their customers was highlighted by Rodney Hunt, chairman of the Federation, in his address to the Annual Dinner.
This included the campaign calling for a review of the grocery market, which has now forced the Office of Fair Trading to reconsider whether it should call for a full investigation by the Competition Commission.
He said a decision was expected by April, and added: “But will they come to the right decision and recommend that the Competition Commission conducts a proper and much needed review of the grocery market â which is, as we all know, just one market at the retail end as it is at the buying end?
“There has been a change at the helm and new thinking is at work within the OFT, so I am quietly hopeful that on second thoughts they could reach that right decision.”
He added: “Whatever the result there will be much further work for FWD and like-minded trade bodies to do in order to ensure that some balance returns to the cost structure of our market and wholesalers’ customers are able to compete on that now very elusive level playing field. A market where one single operator has almost a third of the business and growing.”
The chairman also praised the success of the My Shop is Your Shop campaign and the wide coverage that National Independents’ Day achieved in the media.
He said: “I am assured that plans are already in hand to drive National Independents’ Day to even greater heights next year.
“We appreciate the help given by supportive suppliers to help us fund the MSYS activity and we look forward to continuity of this assistance to help us make another big impact in 2006.”