Celebrating golden greats

The star performers in the wholesale sector during 2011 were celebrated at the FWD Annual Dinner and Gold Medal Awards at Old Billingsgate in front of the biggest attendance for several years.

FWD chairman Chris Etherington and chief executive James Bielby were joined in presenting the Gold Medals to the wholesaler winners by Dominic Conway, head of route to market sales for the sponsor, Magners GB.

The first award was the Gold Medal for Delivered Wholesale Driver which was presented to David Bell, who is based at Palmer amp; Harvey’s Birtley depot.

In its citation, the FWD said: “In nine years with Palmer and Harvey David’s sickness, disciplinary and attendance record has been second to none. Customer feedback is always extremely positive, his paperwork is exceptional, and he sets a standard for other drivers to match. David doesn’t let the fact that he is deaf affect his work as with all other obstacles he overcomes it with ease. His manager says he’s a credit to the Birtley branch.”

Zac Crick of Booker Kettering won the Gold Medal for the Cash amp; Carry Shop Floor Worker of the Year. His citation said: “Zac’s supervisor says he demonstrates excellent customer service every day and does not hesitate to go the extra mile, whether it’s loading a vehicle or challenging management on a customer’s behalf. He is always asking customers if they got what they needed and he’s been known to stay on after work to complete a job. He’s described as a perfect example of Booker’s PRIDE training initiative and his supervisor says his smile has got bigger every day and the customers love him.”

The winner of the Gold Medal for Young Wholesaler of the Year, Tammy Walker, senior buyer at AG Parfett amp; Sons, Sheffield, was not able to attend the ceremony and the award was collected on her behalf by Parfetts chairman Steve Parfett. The citation said: “During her 10 years with Parfetts Tammy has worked in many areas of the business before being appointed senior buyer 18 months ago. During her relatively short period in buying, Tammy has demonstrated a good aptitude for negotiations and good control of buying administration and awareness of the need for tight stock control, and she delivers a strong promotional package for her customers.”

The Gold Medal for Independent Cash amp; Carry Manager of the Year was awarded to Doug Watt, general manager of Blakemore Wholesale in Gateshead. He was described as “a natural leader and a real team player who’s respected and trusted by his customers.” Doug is an active member of Business in the Community, and has lead his team in community work in the area. He has worked hard to develop the skills of his staff and the service offered to customers. In the weeks leading up to the award his depot had shown double digit growth, despite the harsh economic climate.

Darren Wishart, warehouse manager at Costco Wholesale UK, Watford won the Multiple Cash amp; Carry Manager of the Year Gold Medal. The citation said: “The award goes to someone whose exceptional merchandising skills have consistently increased sales, profit and membership. For nine years Darren has had complete responsibility for Costco UK’s largest and busiest warehouse, and has consistently built the business despite the company opening new premises in the same catchment area. He has an ethical and open approach to dealing with over 400 employees and his manager praises his exceptional staff relationships.”

In the delivered sector the winner of the Gold Medal for Independent Delivered Depot Manager of the Year was John Forteith of Forteith Foodservice, Oban. His citation said: “He has an inclusive management style which has led to extremely low staff turnover and he has an exceptional rapport with his 50-strong team who he treats as part of the family. John’s 100% commitment and focus on a sustainable and managed growth plan has seen net profit running at +11% and in the last two years John has been instrumental in transforming the business by introducing a retail offering.”

Tony Martin, depot general manager at 3663 Reading won the Gold Medal for the Multiple Delivered Depot Manager of the Year. The citation said: “This award goes to someone who has led his depot in delivering a tremendous result in the last financial year turning the depot from a ‘cost centre’ to a ‘profit centre’ and exceeding budgeted profit by an incredible 265%. With 24 years service at 3663 under his belt, Tony has a straightforward and positive attitude towards leadership that creates an environment for individuals to flourish and develop. Through influencing and communication skills Tony continues to engender a culture of teamwork and customer service.”

In the two awards presented to companies Creed Foodservice won the Gold Medal for Wholesale Service to Caterers, and the Gold Medal for Wholesale Service to Retailers was won by AF Blakemore.

Creed Foodervice managing director Chris Creed was presented with his company’s award and the citation said: “The company is described by its customers as having a fantastic understanding of their needs and requirements, with the entire team from buyers to national account managers always happy to go more than the extra mile to make sure they deliver an excellent service. One supplier said: ‘Creed are constantly looking at ways to improve what they do. It very much has a ‘family-feel’ whenever I’m at the offices and the staff can’t do enough to help. They deal cheerfully with any request and the team are always respectful.”

AF Blakemore amp; Son commercial director Russell Grant was presented with his company’s award and the citation said: “2011 saw Blakemore introduce the Retailer of the Year competition for its 380 Lifestyle Express Stores, with the aim of educating and encouraging retailers to achieve excellent store standards, exemplary customer service and greater community involvement. Support and advice was offered to all retailers by the nine Blakemore Wholesale key account managers and the four sponsoring category partner suppliers, and the competition was also supported with a prize fund of £30,000, including £2,800 for the winning retailer’s nominated charities.”

After the presentation of the annual Gold Medals it was announced that the FWD Council had agreed that a special award should be made. It said the award was “to recognise the remarkable achievement of a family who have dedicated their lives to their business since 1980, and have worked in the grocery trade for most of their lives.

“The ownership of the business passed from father to sons in 1989 and the company continues to this day to play a huge role in the wholesale sector.

“Starting from humble surroundings and making a massive family commitment to buying a cash and carry depot in 1980, this company now has six depots and has just passed £300m turnover in its 30th year of trading.

“They have gone from strength to strength, continually re-investing in their business to reach their current success. The family have served the Landmark Wholesale Group with distinction and also served as chairmen of the FWD Council. As the older son now reaches his own semi-retirement, the award goes to Alan, Steve and Robert Parfett from AG Parfett and Sons.”

Six Gold Medals were also awarded to recognise the suppliers who have provided the most support to the wholesale sector, with each one sponsored and presented by an FWD member. FWD seeks nominations for these awards from wholesalers, and winners are chosen by a secret ballot of members.

The Gold Medal for the Grocery Brand of the Year was sponsored by Bestway and Batleys, and was won by Walkers Crisps. It was presented by Bestway director Arshad Chaudhary to Kieran South, wholesale director of PepsiCo UK amp;I.

Halewood won the Gold Medal for the Drinks Brand of the Year for Crabbie’s Ginger Beer. The award was sponsored by Landmark Wholesale, and managing director Martin Williams presented it to Des Ewing, director of sales – route to market.

The Gold Medal Foodservice Brand, sponsored by Booker, was won by Tetley Tea, and was presented to Brett Grimshaw, business sector controller at Tata Global Beverages, by Guy Farrant, Booker’s managing director of cash and carry.

There are two Gold Medals for Service, with the retail award sponsored by Sugro UK and the foodservice award sponsored by Costco Wholesale UK. The Retail Service award was won by Coca-Cola Enterprises and was presented to sales and customer development director Darren Goldney by Sugro UK managing director Philip Jenkins.

The Foodservice Service award was won by Unilever Foodsolutions and it was presented to managing director Tracey Rogers by Steve Pappas, managing director of Costco Wholesale UK.

Coca-Cola Enterprises achieved a second win with the Gold Medal for Actionable Insight sponsored by SalesOut. This award goes to the supplier or manufacturer which has most successfully used sales data to generate increased sales and distribution.

Darren Goldney received the award from SalesOut CEO Marcus Vallance.

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