Show how you make a difference

The winner of Company of the Year at last year’s Awards for Excellence is one of the island’s best-loved institutions, Tynwald Mills. At a time when many retailers are struggling, from small independent stores to well-known high street names, Tynwald Mills last year managed to buck the trend through innovation, investment and a lot of hard work. ‘Last year retail was down overall and the way we managed to change that was to continue to invest in the business and some of its added attractions, like the cafes, to make Tynwald Mills a place where people want to come to shop,’ said marketing and project manager Matthew McSevney. ‘At the end of the day, we recognise that people have a choice: they can shop online, or they can shop in Strand Street, or they can come to Tynwald Mills, and the whole thing about coming to Tynwald Mills is that it’s not just about the shopping – we try and offer lots of extra things for people to enjoy. ‘We’ve just established the community marquee which now holds lots of events through the year, including the ice skating over Christmas. We have two cafes and a weekly farmers’ market, and the combination of those extra things and continuing to innovate, with lots of new brands and expanding the menswear department, keeps things fresh for customers.’ One of the biggest innovations for Tynwald Mills last year was the introduction of its reward card scheme. This has cost implications for the business. Matthew said: ‘The reward card has been huge for us. We have now signed up more than 9,000 people and it is a way of saying thank you to them for shopping locally and shopping with us. ‘I think the award was in recognition of all these things we’d done over the year, both in the business and community-based – really, changing the face of retail on the island.’ And, as Matthew went on to explain, the award means a lot. He said: ‘What it means to us is recognising the investment and the innovation and the effort that comes from the team at Tynwald Mills, to make a profitable retail business and one that people want to come and visit. ‘The awards night also gave us an opportunity to thank the team for their hard work through the year and to enjoy a night out to celebrate their effort and their achievement.’ What the judges said: ‘At a time when the retail share on the island contracted by 21 per cent, this was an exceptional year from Tynwald Mills with growth of 15 per cent. ‘Tynwald Mills is part of the Associated Independent Stores buying group. All the stores in the group are graded on their performance and, this year, Tynwald Mills moved up from a grade six rating to grade one, alongside other flagship department stores in the UK. ‘Over the last year, Tynwald Mills has invested in a refurbishment of several of its departments and a major expansion of its menswear department. They have continued to innovate with new brands and their new reward card scheme.’ Could your business be a winner this year? Matthew said: ‘I think it’s important for an Isle of Man company to enter the awards. ‘There are a lot of companies out there who are trying to make a difference on the Isle of Man, and follow the Freedom to Flourish values, and it gives them the opportunity to be recognised for their hard work.’ If you think your company is one of them, why not enter this year’s Awards for Excellence? There are 16 award categories and you full find full details of all of them, plus entry forms to download, at shortly.

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