A Bourne-based family shoe firm has walked off with its sixth national award in just six years.
North Shoes, who have traded from North Street since 1876, are celebrating after being named men’s independent retailer of the year at the prestigious Footwear Industry Awards 2017.
And store manager Ryan Clements made it a golden double by beating off literally hundreds of rivals to be named Society of Shoe Fitters (SSF) Student of the Year.
It’s the third time North Shoes have won the men’s independent retailer of the year accolade and delighted managing director James North – the fifth generation at the helm of the business – said: “It’s an honour to win this award three years in a row and it shows just how much dedication to offering a quality fitting service for men can bring your business.
“I’m really chuffed for Ryan – he’s put hours of dedication and hard work into his SSF course. He’s a credit to the company and the North Shoes family.”
Ryan, who has only been managing the Bourne store for a year, said: “I feel incredibly proud. The SSF had their biggest intake of students this year and there were literally hundreds who could have been up for the award.
“It was an honour to receive it at a ceremony attended by the bosses of all of the leading shoe firms in the world. It took me a year to complete the course alongside my job. It’s a great achievement, but my family, friends and James and the team at North Shoes have been fantastic and really supportive.”
Ryan is not resting on his laurels. After learning all elements of shoe construction, fitting and foot health through the SSF course he’s now training as a foot health practitioner and added: “I love my career and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
North Shoes, who have stores in Peterborough, Stamford and Cambridge, were also shortlisted in the ladies’ independent retailer and independent family retailer categories and Cambridge branch manager Paul Luesby was shortlisted in the personality of the year section.
The Footwear Industry Awards were launched in 2012 to honour good practice and in addition to their three men’s independent retailer successes, North Shoes have also won the independent family retailer and ladies’ independent retailer crowns since 2012.
This year’s awards were presented at a gala night at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham. Cheryl Taylor, editor of Footwear Today magazine, said: “A key function of the awards is to recognise independent footwear retailers and the fantastic job they do – from start-ups all the way through to established businesses and multiples.
“To win a coveted Footwear Industry Award is a real quality mark for a footwear retailer, communicating to customers that they offer unrivalled products and service. Congratulations to North Shoes, who are our Men’s Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year 2017, for their fantastic achievement!”
CAPTION: Winning team… from the left, James Jackson (North Shoes shows manager), Ryan Clements (Bourne manager), James North, Rosemary Gray (Peterborough manager), Paul Luesby (Cambridge manager) and Lee Marshall Rose (North Shoes operations manager).