UPDATED: CJ Lang triumphs at SWA Awards

CJ LANG amp; Son, the long-established Dundee-based independent food and drink wholesaler, has been named the best wholesale business in the country at the prestigious Scottish Wholesale Achievers, the awards initiative created and organised by the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) to recognise professionalism and excellence across all sectors of the industry in Scotland (pictured).

CJ Lang owns 120 Spar stores across Scotland and supplies a further 200 independent Spar outlets north of the Border. It fended off stiff competition from wholesalers all over the country to win the sought-after Champion of Champions award, sponsored by Philip Morris.

CJ Lang also lifted the Best Symbol Group and Best Delivered Operation cateogries, sponsored by soft drinks firm Cott and Imperial Tobacco UK respectively, and was runner-up in Best Marketing Initiative at Achievers – sponsored by Taylors of Harrogate – for its ‘Shop amp; Win’ campaign to drive footfall in its customers’ Spar stores.

Judges pointed to CJ Lang’s “passion and commitment to their business”, with Karen Murray, regional sales manager at Philip Morris, saying: “The market is very competitive in Scotland and this year’s Champion of Champions displayed a great winning mindset throughout, demonstrating best practice in many areas. This wholesaler is clearly always looking to improve its business.”

Duncan Cunningham, head of corporate and legal affairs at Imperial Tobacco UK, said that CJ Lang “stood out as an example of best practice”. He explained: “This company’s highly professional approach to wholesaling was demonstrated by the sophisticated processes and systems it has in place, along with a commitment to continuous customer service improvement.”

At Cott, judges Julie Kelly, Scotland wholesale manager and Melanie Morrisey, wholesale and field sales controller, praised CJ Lang’s ability to turn challenges into an opportunity to raise standards within Spar, and hailed the company’s symbol standards as “world-class”.

Kate Salmon, executive director of the SWA, commented: “This is an outstanding result for CJ Lang, one of our sector’s leading independent, family-owned business. The company has set a very high benchmark for our industry and we should all be inspired by its desire to keep on improving standards.

“What CJ Lang has also done, however, is show that it is not afraid to embrace change by adopting new technologies and using them to its best advantage. It is a wholesaler that is bold and confident about the future of our industry – and that truly is something to celebrate.

“Achievers encourages wholesalers to push boundaries, be innovative and challenge the perceptions of our industry as the multiple retail sector’s poor relation,” Salmon continued. “Indeed, the high standards and professionalism we’ve witnessed throughout this competition confirm to our suppliers that our sector is a force to be reckoned with.

“It is also hugely encouraging for the SWA to see such strong support from suppliers and a genuine willingness on their part to strengthen relationships with our members.”

Almost 500 people attended the Achievers gala dinner and awards presentation, hosted by broadcaster, columnist and TV presenter Cat Cubie at the Sheraton Grand, Edinburgh.

Othere winners on the night included Bidvest 3663, drinks wholesaler Gordon amp; MacPhail, Fáilte Foods, Mondelez, soft drinks specialist Ian Hill Ltd, Forteith Foodservice, Spar, Glasgow’s United Wholesale Grocers, Whyte amp; MacKay and Diageo.

For full coverage of the Awards, look out for the March issue of Wholesale News.

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