Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Award winning success for Hughes Camlough

Hughes Nisa Extra in Camlough has been hailed the top Independent Retailer of the Year 2015 in the national Retail Industry Awards, which took place at glittering awards ceremony in London last Thursday night.

The award recognises and rewards independent convenience retailers who are actively involved in their communities, looking at how businesses work within the community for mutual benefit. The event is the only time of year when the whole industry gets together to recognise and reward both the smallest independent retailers alongside the largest supermarket groups.

With the renowned shopping complex forming the hub of Camlough village for over 30 years, it is little wonder the stalwart one-stop-shop came out on top in the UK-wide awards, beating hundreds of Northern Ireland and UK stores to clinch the prestigious title.

Serving generations of people from Camlough, south Armagh and across the district for over three decades, the store has continued to go from strength to strength with its state-of-the-art premises housing everything from an in-store Post Office to a top quality grocery and household goods range, an extensive deli and  hugely popular food-to-go range, as well as a top quality butchery department.  Its bustling forecourt offers keenly competitive prices on fuel and solid fuels, with the added bonus of forecourt attendants on hand to fill your tank.

From humble beginnings back in 1984, proprietor Jim Hughes has grown his business into a whopping 7000 square foot complex which offers everything a customer needs, all under one roof.    The Hughes name has become synonymous with top quality food and excellent customer service and the store has won a string of awards over the years.  The latest accolade marks a first for Hughes however, as it is the first UK wide competition the store has ever been involved in.

Speaking to The Examiner about the much deserved award, Jim’s daughter Grainne said the entire team at Hughes were delighted to receive such recognition for all their  hard work and dedication to providing local food and excellent customer service to the surrounding community.

“What is unique about the Retailer of the Year Award is that we are judged on overall quality throughout the store, not just on one particular department or aspect of the store,” explained Grainne.

“We had an unannounced visit from three judges at end of May who took a tour of the complex and behind the scenes as we told them the history of the store.  They were looking for a consistent gold star standard throughout the entire complex and it is those high standards, which were set by my father Jim over thirty years ago, and which we’ve continued to build on and improved upon, that clinched the title for us” added Grainne.

“We have a very strong customer base.  Without our customers we wouldn’t have the shop that we have now. Our customers hail from all over south Armagh and the surrounding area, not just Camlough, and they have continued to support us over the years.”

Paying tribute to the store’s hard working team of staff, Grainne said,

“This award is testament to the efforts of our committed staff.  We wouldn’t win any awards without the high calibre of staff that we have, some of whom have been with us for a long, long time.  In fact, we have one member of staff who has been with us from the day the shop opened.”

Indeed the store has been boosting local employment for the last thirty years and now employs over 200 staff within the entire complex.

“We strive to improve all the time and being part of competitions like this is great. It’s fantastic to get the recognition for all our hard work and great for the staff to have something to work for, to see the results of their efforts and know that they’re part of an award-winning team” says Grainne.

“We’re competing with the big supermarkets so we have extensive offers on throughout the store on a regular basis and have to keep up-to-date on customers’ needs all the time.

“We find now that people have less time on their hands so they want everything to be convenient and ready to go.  Our fresh food-to-go range and extensive butchery department provides that and the fact that the customer has everything under one roof is an extra convenience.

“Hughes store and its standards were started by my father and Jim and Noreen and it has been a real family business for over thirty years now. On behalf of Jim, my brother Gerard and I would like to thank all of our loyal customers who have continued to support us and our brilliant staff who make these accolades possible. We hope to continue to serve the community of Camlough, south Armagh and beyond for another thirty years.”