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Top retailers are the toast of Ashton

Left to right, Antonio’s head chef James Roberts, owner Tony Orrell and Bromleys partner Paul Westwell

The cream of a town’s independent retailers have been crowned in a new awards scheme which drew more than 1,600 nominations and over 20,000 engagements on social media.

The Ashton Independent Business Awards were created to recognise traders in Ashton-under-Lyne and the benefits they bring to the town.

Accolades were presented across 10 retail categories, as well as a Sponsor’s Choice Award and a special honour from the Ashton Town Team, the voluntary group which supports businesses in the town and initiated the scheme.

Ashton-based law firm Bromleys was the main awards sponsor. Its Sponsor’s Choice Award went to Antonio’s Pizzeria e Ristorante.

The restaurant has more than 150 covers and is a popular venue for private functions. It has been the venue for the Tameside Women in Business networking group since its formation in 2017.

Owner Tony Orrell said: “It’s a real honour to receive the Sponsor’s Choice Award. The launch of the awards has been a real boost for the town.”

Tony said he has continued to invest in the business despite the pandemic, including fitting a Valoriani wood-burning pizza oven during lockdown to offer traditional Italian pizza.

Bromleys partner Paul Westwell said: “This was a tough decision, as we are lucky to have such a wide array of independent retail and hospitality venues in our town centre.

“Antonio’s offers amazing authentic Italian food in an intimate setting. Staff always seek to go the extra mile, and the warm atmosphere adds to a very enjoyable and pleasant dining experience, whether it be for a business lunch, a networking event or a family meal.

“Restaurants have really suffered during the Covid-19 crisis. Antonio’s took park in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August and continued with the offer throughout September to encourage people back, adapting the restaurant to ensure there is social distancing and that it is Covid-19 compliant.”

The award winners were:

  • Café/Takeaway: Nat’s Bombay Kitchen in the Market Hall
  • Clothing/Footwear: Room 14 Menswear on George Street
  • Fresh Food Retail: The Cheese Stall, Market Hall
  • Hair, Health & Beauty: Mary Haworth Beauty Culture, Warrington Street
  • Home Furnishings/Textiles: Bargain Textiles, Market Hall
  • Jewellers: Grade A, Market Avenue
  • Restaurant: Lily’s Indian Vegetarian Cuisine, Oldham Road
  • Specialist Retail: Rewind Collectables and Games, Wellington Street
  • Tech/Electrical: Microtech Computers, Penny Meadow
  • Furniture: Ashton Discount Warehouse, Stamford Street
  • Bromleys’ Sponsor’s Choice Award: Antonio’s Pizzeria e Ristorante, Katherine Street

The Ashton Town Team Special Award: Cameraz, Stamford Street Central
The judging panel was chaired by Jan Lord, from Guide Bridge MOT & Service Centre.

Kevin Taylor, chair of Ashton Town Team, said, “These awards certainly acknowledge the unique bespoke service provided by many of the independent businesses in our town centre.

“We need to celebrate businesses like these which make Ashton-under-Lyne a perfect destination for quality, value and service for shoppers.”

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