As the 2014 Nelson Tasman Top Shop competition kicks off, Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese has given the contest a $3000 boost.
The donation makes the Nelson City Council one of the major sponsors of the event along with the Nelson Mail and the Radio Network.
The money comes from the mayoral discretionary fund, which allows the mayor to distribute $10,000 per year as she sees fit.
"It's the Nelson City Council continuing to support this initiative for our region and great service in retail is important to foster and I think the Top Shop awards do an excellent job of promoting great customer service," she said.
"I am really happy to partner with the other sponsors to support the Chamber of Commerce initiative."
Registrations for the competition open on Tuesday with businesses from Nelson, Richmond and Motueka being invited to participate.
Reese said the fact the funds support the retail sector in Tasman as well as Nelson was not an issue.
"I do think it is good to do things that benefit the whole region and am really happy to get behind them and support them," she said.
The public can vote for who they think is most deserving and independent mystery shoppers will check the credibility of those voted for with those coming out with the top score winning.
For the first time tech-savvy customers will be able to vote for their favorite shop online as well as through the newspaper.
The Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dot Kettle said the council's support along with that of the Nelson Mail and Radio Network and other associated organisations was fantastic and vital to delivering the competition.
"It shows the commitment of the Nelson City Council to support the city retailers in showcasing and celebrating excellent customer service," she said.
"The chamber is excited about the launch of Top Shop next week which coincides with the free parking initiative in Nelson City. We encourage customers to take advantage of that and rediscover their favourite shops."
Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan encouraged people to vote for their favourite bar, shop, restaurant and any other appropriate business.
"We are looking forward to lots of Nelson city businesses being nominated," she said.
The mayor's report to the council on Thursday said due to the $3000 contribution the council's name would appear on promotional material in shop windows during the running of the competition from July 1 to August 22.
Winners from different categories will awarded the Top Shop label at a cocktail ceremony later in the year as well as being advertised in the Nelson Mail and on the Radio Network.
- The Nelson Mail
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