Each year, the Evening Express Retailer Awards aims to be bigger, bolder and better than the last.
And with no shortage of fantastic retail outlets in the north-east, today marks the return of the Retailer Awards 2018.
The Evening Express has joined forces with Aberdeen Inspired for the fourth year running to highlight the very best shops, bars, cafes, hairdressers, hotels and more.
Evening Express editor Craig Walker said: “The Retailer Awards aim to promote long-established and emerging firms and encourage more people to shop locally.
“They are a great way to recognise the outstanding, hard-working people making a real difference to businesses and customers across the north-east.
“More businesses than ever entered last year’s awards and what shone through was the drive and determination to be the best they possibly could for their customers.
“It was a pleasure to be able to highlight these success stories and we look forward to an even bigger Retailer Awards in 2018.”
A total of 15 glittering awards will be up for grabs during this year’s ceremony, which will take place at the stunning Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel on Thursday November 8.
A number of new categories have been introduced, including Local Produce of the Year, which aims to recognise any retailer selling fresh and outstanding local produce, such as bakeries, butchers and fishmongers.
The Hair and Beauty Retailer of the Year category has been split into two, with Beauty Salon of the Year and Hair Salon of the Year now being judged separately.
Similarly, brand and independent hotels will be acknowledged in two separate categories. And casual and fine dining restaurants will also be appraised individually.
As well as all of that, for the first time, a “wildcard” category has been introduced. Customers will be able to decide which business wins the Reader’s Choice Retailer of the Year award. Will it be a pub? Restaurant? Butcher? Hotel? The winner will be decided solely by customers, who are able to vote online from today for any retailer of their choosing which goes above and beyond to meet their needs. Voting will take place on the Retailer Awards website (eeretailawards.co.uk) from now until July 15.
Sponsored by Aberdeen Inspired, the Union Street Champion Retailer of the Year will once again recognise businesses which help to shape the heart of the city centre.
Aberdeen Inspired will also sponsor the Outstanding Contribution to Retail category.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Aberdeen Inspired sponsors the awards because retail is such an important part of our city centre that should be recognised and celebrated, from independents through to nationals. “It is important to recognise retailers in the north-east, as they play an integral role in the local community.
“From large nationals to small independents, they all deserve their chance to shine and we would encourage them to use this opportunity.
“Our retailers bring diversity to our city centre and contribute a widespread offering to visitors and tourists to the area.
“Aberdeen Inspired aims to revitalise and restimulate the city centre for a long-term sustainable future, to recapture its status and competitive edge in order to influence footfall, tourism, business and spend.”