By Andy Young

The final night of the Australian Liquor Stores Association’s annual conference, which took place on the Gold Coast this week, saw the naming of the association’s 2016 Young Liquor Retailer of the Year.

After an extensive search and interview process the award came down to two nominees, James McKay from Liquor Barons, Morley in WA and Rebecca Polley from BWS Stafford in Queensland. While both McKay and Polley made an excellent impression on the judging panel, it was Polley, who just did enough to win this year’s award.

Speaking at the ALSA Conference, CEO Terry Mott said: “We went through a process for nominations and these are the criteria and nominees had to write a submission and a plan, and that was a plan to realise an opportunity in their store that had not yet been realised, so identify an opportunity and then prepare a plan and implement the plan. There were two rounds of finalists selected, in the first round we had five and then it got down to the final two and we did video interviews with the final two.”

Polley said: “I wanted to take a minute to thank my area manager Kristy and Curtis and my husband for really supporting me in this journey into liquor retailing. I wanted to thank ALSA and the team for the opportunity to show how passionate I am about our industry, it is such an amazing award for the younger generation to see that there is the opportunity to excel in retail and particularly in liquor and there is so much that we can learn.”

As part of her prize Polley will now join next year’s ALSA Study Tour and she added: “I also wanted to thank ALSA for the opportunity and to go and learn and experience the Study Tour and to bring back all of the experience and make retailing in Australia world class, so thank you.”

Although disappointed not to win, McKay was still very happy to have been recognised as one of the top young liquor retailers in the country and he said: “I am honoured to be chosen as a finalist for the Young Liquor Retailer of the Year. I have had the store for two and a half years now and there’s no doubt about that it has been a lot of hard work, but I’m very happy with what I have achieved, and it’s just really good  to be recognised and to know that there are still more things we can achieve in our store along with Liquor Barons support.”

ALSA also announced the location for next year’s conference, which will take place in Canberra from 20-23 August

The Shout Team

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