Independent High Street Store wins Best Gift Shop Award
3rd July 2019
With Brexit still dominating the news and the woes of the economy and high street being discussed seemingly every other day it can be hard to find the positive messages sometimes.One local Lancaster business is helping to buck the trend. At an awards ceremony last Sunday Inspire Gifts & Gallery won the highly contested accolade of Best Gift Shop in Northern England.
The event, organised by England's Businesses Awards, showcases the best of the best from the regional heats held earlier in the year. Where these awards differ from others is that they are truly an independent award which doesn't rely on external sponsorship. Instead each nominated business is independently assessed through a series of face to face visits, secret shops, votes on the official website and customer comments.
Graham Armstrong Jones, owner of Inspire Gifts, told us, "We were taken aback when we first heard about our nomination into the Lancashire finals, the fact we were nominated secretly by several customers was a a huge honour in itself " Graham went on to say, "winning best Lancashire Gift Shop and Best Lancaster Business was amazing, but to then be named Best Gift Shop in the whole of Northern England is confirmation that the hard work and long hours are worth it, especially when we were up against competition as far afield as County Durham."
Their excellent customer service played a big part in taking the title but Inspire Gifts are more than just your standard shop. Their ethos has always involved offering unusual and quirky products as well as becoming known as being the place to go for local art and artisan crafts.
There are regular exhibitions in their first floor gallery rooms, and currently have a printmaking exhibition on until the end of July. The gallery also doubles up as the location for Lancaster's Makers Market held on the first Saturday of each month where local artists and makers selling have the opportunity to have their own high street shopfront for the day.
There is a real buzz about how Inspire Gifts & Gallery are doing retail differently. Their aim is to get people to see them as not "just another gift shop" but as a part of the the local community and leading change on the High Street.
Find Inspire at 28 New Street, Lancaster, LA1 1EG, https://inspiregiftsandgallery.co.uk/
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