Golden greats

The best performers working in and supplying the wholesale sector were recognised at the annual Federation of Wholesale Distributors Gold Medals ceremony, the biggest awards night in wholesaling.

Details of the winners were announced by celebrity guest Barry Cryer and they received their awards from FWD chairman Francis Ball and Sir Anwar Pervez, chairman of Bestway which sponsored this year’s Gold Medal Awards.

Traditionally, the first award recognises young people in the industry, and this year the Gold Medal for the Young Wholesaler of the Year was presented to Andrew Grinsell, operations director at Blakemore Food Service. Cryer said: “He developed and installed the first paperless picking system in a foodservice depot in the country – improving efficiency of pick rates by 10% and reducing errors by 70%. He and his team deliver a service level of 99.5% every week and he is responsible for a total turnover of pound;80m and 400 staff, across six sites.”

Don Wouhra of East End Foods was awarded the Gold Medal for Independent Cash and Carry Manager of the Year. Cryer said: “This talented wholesaler continues to grow sales and margin in an increasingly competitive market place by delivering what the customer wants on an ongoing basis.

“Managing a turnover of more than pound;100m and 100 staff he is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced wholesalers in the business. And, as a manager of a cash and carry he has few equals.”

The Gold Award for Multiple Cash and Carry Manager of the Year was presented to Karl Minogue, manager of the Costco warehouse at Gateshead. Karl joined Costco in 1994 and has taken responsibility for opening two warehouses for the company. In its last financial year his current warehouse achieved a 10% increase in sales, 12% increase in profit and a 14% increase in membership.

Mike Lathey of Savona Provisions in Kidlington won the Gold Award for Independent Delivered Depot Manager of the Year. Introducing him Cryer said: “This business recently moved to a new location and our winner was largely responsible for the planning of the move which took place over one weekend with no loss of service. He also successfully managed staff changes that resulted from the move and achieved a very high level of staff retention.”

The Multiple Delivered Depot Manager Gold Medal was awarded to Derek Moore, general manager of 3663’s Edenbridge depot. Profits at his depot improved by more than pound;800,000 year on year, and he achieved double-digit sales growth including pound;3.5m of new business.

Landmark Wholesale managing director Martin Williams received the Gold Medal for Wholesaler Service in the Independent Wholesale Sector to Retailers on behalf of everyone involved in the company’s Hot House programme.

The project aims to vastly improve 2,500 stores by implementing a four-year business plan, funded and supported by 42 suppliers. Retailers who have already taken part in Hot House have averaged retail sales increases of 29%.

The Gold Medal for Wholesaler Service in the Multiple Wholesale Sector to Retailers was awarded to Steven Fox, Booker’s director of retail and Premier development. Introducing him, Cryer said: “This winner leads by example – he is always accessible to customers and nothing is too much trouble. A total professional, he heads up a sales force of over 100 people as well as a Support Centre team.

“An influence for good across the convenience sector as a whole, he is a board member of the ACS, works with the Rural Shops Alliance and is an enthusiastic supporter of the FWD’s My Shop is Your Shop campaign.”

The Gold Medal for Wholesaler Service in the Independent Wholesale Sector to Caterers was received by Anne Tomlinson, chief executive of Sterling Supergroup. Cryer said: “The medal goes to a dedicated buying group which has been trading and growing for 40 years and has grown stronger by constantly adapting to change.

“Its members are all individual entrepreneurs with 47 of them working together as a group to negotiate terms that enable it to be competitive in the market. With a strong presence in the foodservice sector, it was in the vanguard of those who recognised the importance of regional food products and were forerunners in introducing specific local ranges.”

Musgrave Northern Ireland won the Gold Medal for Wholesaler Service in the Multiple Wholesale Sector to Caterers, and the medal was received on their behalf by Rosie McFarlane, Londis PR manager at Musgrave Budgens Londis. The cash and carry group has introduced a new store format enabling it to add more than one thousand new products, and has developed an exclusive own-label brand for its foodservice customers.

A special Gold Medal for Wholesaler Service to Retail was also presented to James Hall, Bestway Direct controller. He has been the driving force in the development of Bestway Direct and as a member of PRAG he was also credited with suggesting the slogan “Local and Proud of it” for the My Shop is Your Shop campaign.

In the second half of the awards Gold Medals were presented to the best suppliers to the wholesale sector. They were decided by a first past the post vote by wholesalers throughout the UK.

Gold Medal Drinks Brand of the Year was Wolf Blass, and the award was presented to Rob Page, business sector controller – impulse from Foster’s EMEA. TV advertising, sponsorship and innovative displays in cash and carries were credited with increasing sales.

Britvic’s J sup2;O was the Grocery Brand of the Year and the Gold Medal was presented to Andrew Richards, customer marketing director of Britvic. The brand is now worth more than pound;200m and increased sales by 70% over Christmas 2005.

The Gold Medal for Foodservice Brand of the Year was won by Knorr Real Soup and was presented to Ian Hewlett, distributive director of Unilever Foodsolutions. The brand is currently showing growth of more than 50% year on year.

GlaxoSmithKline won the Gold Medal for the Service Company of the Year in Retail Products and it was presented to Mark Bowler, trading controller, wholesale. The company was described as “an outstanding winner which should be a shining example to the others”.

The Gold Medal for Service Company of the Year in Foodservice was won by Nestl eacute; Foodservices and was presented to sales director Steve Pepperell. The company has achieved service levels of more than 98.3% for many months and works closely with its customers. The Gold Medal for the Best Trade Advertising in ProWholesaler was won by Procter Gamble for its professional range and was presented to convenience wholesale team leader Chris Brothwell.

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