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The awards, commissioned by the Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Roger Lawrence, are being led by Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the council.
The aim is to celebrate and praise the entrepreneurial spirit, dedication and hard work of those involved in running and managing a successful independent business, as well as to recognise the loyalty and dedication of the staff that work in this sector. There are 12 honours up for grabs, with nominations called for in 11 categories. A public vote is open to find Wolverhampton's 'Favourite Retailer'.
The other categories are Independent Retailer of the Year, Retail Personality of the Year, Excellence in Customer Service, Best Dressed Shop or Outlet, Employee of the Year, Leader's Award - Apprentice or Trainee of the Year, Excellence in Staff Development, Hospitality and Leisure Business of the Year, Community Retailer of the Year, Most Improved Business of the Year, and New Business of the Year.
The awards are open to independent retailers from across the city, provided they have a Wolverhampton postcode.
Councillor Lawrence, who announced the awards during his annual address at Full Council, last night, said: "It is vital that we listen to the voice of businesses and that we support and nurture growth here in the city.
"That's why, last year, I proposed an annual award event for the city's independent retailers.
"I'm pleased to say that, in collaboration with Wolverhampton BID, we are delivering on that promise.
"We very much value the presence of the small businesses in the city and the creative local people behind them.
"These are the businesses that help give Wolverhampton its own identity and character, and it is only right their efforts should be recognised by these awards."
John Henn, Chair of Wolverhampton BID, added: "As a 6th generation Wulfrunian, independent business owner and chair of the Wolverhampton BID Board, I'm excited to see the Wolverhampton Independent Retail Excellence Awards being launched across our city.
"The awards are a real opportunity to shout about the fantastic range of independent retailers, from our small cafes and bars through to our top quality stores carrying international brands, bringing a rich diversity to our high streets.
"There is an award category to suit all independent retailers, so take this opportunity to tell us about your business in our city and enter now at Type=links;Linkid=8071;Title=WIRE Awards 2017;Target=_blank;."
A number of sponsors, including the Mander Centre, Express and Star, Wolverhampton Racecourse, Ramada Park Hall Hotel and Spa, NCP, and Black Country Reinvestment Society, have already committed their support to the awards, with more names to be confirmed.
Entries to the WIRE Awards can be made at Type=links;Linkid=8071;Title=WIRE Awards 2017;Target=_blank;.
The closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 30 April and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony this summer.
- released: Thursday 2 February, 2017