It turns out big is good, and two is better than one.
That was the case at the 2012 Nelson Mail Top Shop awards last night, where two stores were named as overall winners – Cruellas Natural Fibre Boutique and Mitre 10 Mega Nelson.
Mitre 10 Mega Nelson also won the recreation, lifestyle and information services category, and Cruellas won the fashion, footwear and accessories category.
When Cruellas owner Vicki McGhee heard her shop had won the Top Shop award for the second year in a row, she performed a forward roll on the floor at the function at Trailways Hotel Nelson.
"I had to eat my hat. I said it's not going to happen [us winning again], and if it did I'd stand on my head or do a forward roll. I had to honour my promise."
Mrs McGhee said they were surprised to be named finalists, and shocked to be named Top Shop again.
"No-one has ever won twice in a row. It's a real boost. Our business is our customers, we love them and we're very passionate about our products.
Mitre 10 Mega Nelson general manager Dave Richards said the win was pretty amazing for his team. He was unable to attend the awards last night, ironically because he was in Auckland talking about customer service.
"We were really hoping to win the category. We've been finalists a couple of times, but to win overall as well, it's really fantastic."
Last year the store won the Mitre 10 Mega store of the year, but to be recognised locally was really special, he said.
"It's hard being a big store up against boutiquestores. [In smaller stores] you get more individual attention. We're a big store and a big team, but we do our best to give individual attention."
The store had about 100 staff, "500 years experience", and served anywhere from 1000 to 3000 customers a day, Mr Richards said.
The awards are run by the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce and the Nelson Mail.
Chamber chief executive Dot Kettle said it was quite unusual for two shops to be named as winners.
"But they both scored 100 per cent, and you can't separate out 100 per cent. They're very, very different stores who both showed exemplary customer service," Ms Kettle said.
She said the mystery shopper who visited Cruellas commented that they had no prior interest for knitting at all, but they were a converted knitter when they left.
"That's an outstanding ability.
"It shows the enthusiasm and passion of the people serving that comes through," Ms Kettle said.
The feedback on Mitre 10 Mega said the team member was extremely helpful and knowledgeable, that they were prepared to share ideas and made an effort to understand exactly what the customer wanted, she said.
Other Top Shop category winners are:
Health Beauty and Wellness, McGlashen Pharmacy; Homeware, Giftware and Speciality, Pottering About; Food Beverage and Hospitality, McCashins Brewery Cafe.
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