All smiles as raided store picks up award

Smileys Waterloo Road (Blackpool) branch has won the FWD Gold Award in Community Retailing
Smileys Waterloo Road (Blackpool) branch has won the FWD Gold Award in Community Retailing

SERVICE with a smile has helped a Blackpool store – battling back from a terrifying armed robbery – win recognition for its contribution to the community.

The accolade was presented to Smiley’s in Waterloo Road, South Shore, as part of the My Shop is Your Shop campaign designed to highlight shops which really care about their customers.

And it was a welcome boost for owner Mike Haith who earlier this year saw one of his chain of three stores become the victim of a frightening armed robbery.

His store was nominated by wholesaler Booker for the National Award for Community Retailing presented annually by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors.

Mr Haith said: “When Tesco seems to be taking over the world, it is nice to be recognised for what you are doing in the community.

“It is all about putting something back in. We buy from local producers and we like to look after our customers, as well as supporting local events and causes.

“It is also nice for our staff to get this recognition.

“Our Watson Road shop was raided and as an owner things like that get you down, and it hugely affected my members of staff there. One of them left and the other is still coming to terms with what happened.

“But you can’t throw the towel in for one or two bad eggs and something like this lifts you up.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden, who presented Mr Haith with the award, said: “At a time of economic difficulty it is great Mr Haith has put all his efforts into expansion and now has three shops in Blackpool.

“His commitment to his customers has been recognised by this national award from a trade body.”

James Bielby, chief executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, said: “Smiley’s is really good at doing all the things small independent shops need to do.

“The staff are really friendly and make sure all their customers are well looked after.

“They are also very strict on responsibility, for example they will not sell alcohol to anyone under 25 who does not have ID.”

Smiley’s on Watson Road was raided on January 9.

Matthew Sharkey, 22, of Bond Street, South Shore, was sentenced to five years in prison after appearing at Preston Crown Court last month