18 January 2021: With what has been a difficult year for not only the toy industry but retail in general, this year’s Retailer of the Year awards (organised by the British Toy & Hobby Association) celebrates those who have shown great altruism and innovation, and who have gone the extra mile during this challenging year.
Phil Ratcliffe, President of the BTHA and Chair of the Retailer of the Year judging panel, commented: “This is a change from our usual awards. We made a conscious decision this year in the retail landscape to take a completely different tack on the Retailer of the Year awards and celebrate the retailers who have gone the extra mile. We are not using our historic categories, instead we are celebrating altruism and innovation and we have received lots of entries demonstrating this. This year we have decided not to award an overall Retailer of the Year as toy retail from every quarter contributed massively. Over the last 12 months, retailers across the industry, both small and large, have shown great spirit and dedication in adapting and shaping their business to help support and provide for customers despite the challenges they have faced throughout the continuing pandemic. We are mindful that there have been many great acts of support and generosity during the pandemic across the industry but the panel can only judge those who entered or were nominated.”
The following retailers have been recognised for their efforts throughout 2020:
Toy Corner from Galway, Ireland, The Trading Post from Kingsbridge, Devon, The Entertainer and Smyths Toys.
These retailers all displayed great community spirit in various ways such as by partnering with other local businesses and providing toys and packages to local food banks and those in need during the pandemic, as well as providing free resources online and toys in boredom busting boxes to keep children occupied whilst at home.
This year the British Toy & Hobby Association also introduced the Superhero Awards, in order to recognise and celebrate staff within retail who have gone above and beyond normal service this year. The winner of the inaugural ‘Ultimate Superhero’ Award is Lisa Clay of Armadillo Toys who has continued to deliver excellent services to her customers and community, whilst using innovative ideas to make safety restrictions in her shop child-friendly and fun. Lisa worked every single day throughout lockdown and delivered toys to customers herself as well as sorting postal orders and arranging for collection. Lisa also created her own character, Sally the Social Distancing Spinosaurus, who had socially distanced dinosaur footprints around the shop as well as Sally’s special sanitising station, among other initiatives and activities.
Alongside Lisa were lots of brilliant examples of how individuals went above and beyond to help their community this year and in turn have been awarded a Superhero Award. Their efforts ranged from volunteering for the NHS, helping in their local community, raising funds and volunteering for local charities. A full list of the Superhero Award winners can be found below.
TOY RETAILER WINNERS:
The Trading Post
INDIVIDUAL HERO AWARD WINNERS:
Ultimate Superhero Award:
Lisa Clay, Armadillo Toys, Leeds
Lisa Dyson, Games Crusade
Nouman Qureshi, Ebay
Craig Whiting, The Entertainer, East Kilbride
Julie Robbins, The Entertainer, Jersey
Karen Stacey, The Entertainer, Brent Cross
Layla Owen, The Entertainer, Llandudno
Chantel Lopez, The Entertainer, Ashford
Inna Nikolova, The Entertainer, Stratford
Jade Oliver-Deacon, The Toy Shop Okehampton
Lisa Dyson, Games Crusade
Kelsey Davis, The Entertainer, Hereford
Paul Hart, The Entertainer, Telford
Karen Emery, The Entertainer, Area Manager
Kelly Martin, The Entertainer, Brighton
Andrew Laughton, Chairman of the BTHA commented: “It has been incredibly heart-warming reading through all the inspiring efforts by individuals and retailers who have shown great creativity, selflessness and spirit whilst adjusting to keep not only the toy industry going but also helping those in need during these difficult times. Whilst we have highlighted just a few of the extraordinary efforts we are sure there are many more unsung heroes that we are unaware of. The real winner this year was toy retail in general and we are grateful to the whole toy industry who have done masses this year. I’d also like to give a special thank you to Golden Bear who have created these bespoke Superhero awards for us. The toy industry has proved just how special it is this year in coming together and I congratulate everyone involved.”
The winners of the Toy of the Year Awards will be announced by the TRA in the coming days.