The Great British High Street Awards 2016

For several years the Great British High Street Awards has focused on town centres throughout the country, looking for the best one, the one that is doing all they can to help the town thrive and survive. This year they teamed up with Twitter to search for the best GB Twitter shop, and how thrilled were we here at The Artery to discover that we had been nominated in the summer, and later astounded that we had made it into the final three in October!

The public were then asked to vote daily for a month for their favourite twitter shop out of the three. In the running was Fleetwood Beach Hut – a lovely little beach front cafe, Heart Gallery – a lovely gallery in Hebden Bridge….and us!

On Monday (12th December), Jacqui and I attended the awards ceremony, and what an amazing day it was! The venue for the day was Lancaster House in London – opposite Clarence House, and around the corner from Buckingham Palace. We had our I.D.s checked by the police officer in the guard box, shown into the building and welcomed by the doorman. The huge hallway lined with gilt plaster work, a winding double staircase, and beautiful paintings. After collecting our badges and programme, we were invited up to the music room for refreshments.

Walking through the large ornate double doors we were immediately photographed and saw dozens of people all chatting, laughing and discussing all dressed in their finery. We chatted to people from all over the country all there as finalists in their respective town category, chatted to Hilary Paxman the head judge and drank coffee all in the room where Chopin played and taught piano to the original owners of the building. Such opulence, and beauty.

As the morning progressed, Dan Biddle the Director of Strategic innovation for Twitter UK approached the microphone to talk about our category. We were mentioned first and he spoke about how he loved our creativeness. he said ‘you would expect creativity from an art shop, but The Artery goes above and beyond this’. He talked about how we not only show what we sell, but also how we interact with our twitter followers and use humour and art in a wonderful way. He used Jacqui’s idea of our little wooden manikins as an example of ‘genius’.

Fleetwood Beach Hut was announced the winner, but for this little shop to be in the top three shops on twitter in the country is something we are immensely proud of. It helps galvanise us that even though sometimes it can be hard running a bricks and mortar shop in a digital age, that people do appreciate us being there. It spurs us on to greater things.

Sitting in the Long Gallery at the awards ceremony surrounded by businesses and groups of people from all over the country, all passionate about keeping town centres alive and thriving was a wonderful thing. It shows that there are people who care and who want us to succeed. We had a day we will never forget. Thank you to everyone that voted for us and got us in the top three shops in the country, the best twitter shop in the county for that matter. Thank you!