Specialist retailer from Hereford crowned best in UK

Chick Godsell of outdoor specialist Trekkit, located on Eign Gate in Hereford, has been named as the Outdoor Industries Association’s (OIA) sponsored Retail Employee of the Year for 2009.

Godsell was presented with her award last week during industry event, The Outdoor Trade Show. Along with a cut glass trophy, she received £1,000 and a holiday for two. As the store that produced the winner, Trekkit also picked up a cheque for £250.

The Retail Employee of the Year Scheme (REYs) is the brainchild of leading outdoor magazine OCC Outdoor and in 2009 attracted a record number of entries. Retail sales staff were nominated by reps and agents across the country and 42 were selected for a ‘mystery shopper’ stage. OCC news editor Alistair Phillips co-ordinated the process – he and his team covered almost 5,000 miles as they visited each of the candidates and whittled the list down to three finalists. After a six month search, which saw candidates from as far apart as Aberdeen and Truro assessed, Chick Godsell emerged as the overall winner.

Chick Godsell comments:
“It’s a great honour to receive the OIA Retail Employee of the Year Award and I’m really happy. I love my job. When I serve people who are off camping or going traveling around the world, I feel like I’m going with them.”

Alistair Phillips, who co-ordinates REYs, and carried out the majority of the mystery visits said:
“It’s always hard to put your finger on exactly what makes the REYs winner different from the other candidates. It would be obvious to anyone that Chick is outstandingly good at what she does – she’s polite, approachable, knowledgeable, humorous, confident, enthusiastic, all at once – but to win this award outright you have to have even more than that. What Chick has is hard to describe exactly, but if you could bottle it and sell it you could make a fortune.”

Louise Ramsay, Outdoor Industries Association director, adds: “The role that frontline staff play is fundamentally important to all retail businesses and the Retail Employee of the Year scheme is a great way to celebrate excellence. Despite the challenging economic times, the outdoor sector is generally performing well and a big part of that success is down to the passion of the people who work in it and the high levels of customer service that many specialist retailers offer. Chick Godsell is clearly a deserving winner of the REYs and the Outdoor Industries Association congratulates her on this achievement, in heading what was clearly a very competitive field.”

This is the third year of REYs and Godsell joins 2007 winner Steve English of Mountain Spirit in Aviemore and last year’s winner, Mark Barnes of The Climbers Shop in Ambleside, the Lake District, on the roll call of recipients of the award.