Welcome to Wetherby has hailed the 7th year of its Christmas Window Dressing Competition as a runaway success with over 11,000 people across the globe seeing what the town’s wonderful independent businesses have to offer during this important trading period.
A record-equalling 28 businesses entered the competition, helped by a desire to win the £800 worth of advertising prizes that the sponsors had put up. The range of entrants included a pleasing mix of town-centre retailers, service providers and a strong Deighton Gates contingent from the wider Wetherby area.
2019 saw the introduction of a new ‘Public’s Choice’ category with photos of each entry being displayed on Welcome to Wetherby’s Facebook page (@WelcomeToWetherby). After a week of judging, the album of photos had reached 11,099 people with 1,942 votes being cast through ‘likes’ on photos and in person at Wetherby Town Hall.
Chair of Welcome to Wetherby, Councillor Victor Hawkins, welcomed representatives of the winning businesses to the prizegiving ceremony: “This year we have managed to provide your businesses with the biggest showcase ever. I personally know that your windows have been admired as far away as the Rockies in Canada. Welcome to Wetherby’s mandate is to encourage visitors to the town and our competition this year has given them 28 good reasons to come and use the services that are here, such as dentists, pet shops and groomers, hairdressers, to support charities, for products for homes and gardens or to come and do their Christmas shopping here.”
The winning retailer, with a whopping 534 likes was Touchwood, a family run business on the High Street which aims to meet the town’s DIY and home requirements. Proprietor Richard Gomersall was delighted that Touchwood won this new category, commenting that: “Members of our staff manage our social media accounts and they kept reporting back to me that our window was getting more and more likes! The figure just kept going up! Winning the Public’s Choice and Junior Judges’ Awards is a fabulous reward for the business and our team of staff who put the festive window together. We really appreciate this recognition but were just happy to take part in a competition which helps to promote the town’s businesses.”
The Welcome to Wetherby Special Award was given to The Decorating Centre on Ainsty Road for their window which embraced an eco-friendly theme. Alison Beaumont from The Decorating Centre encouraged people to vote for their window: “Our Elves have been busy up-cycling pallets and gathering pinecones to make a display that embraces the ethos of the environmentally responsible products stocked in store.” The Decorating Centre’s ethos resonated with Welcome to Wetherby which, as part of Wetherby Town Council has recently declared a climate emergency, and also with members of the public who liked the fact that “beautiful windows don’t have to cost the earth.”
Commending the retailers at the prizegiving event, the Mayor of Wetherby (Councillor Galan Moss) said that: “Promoting Wetherby was a priority for me when I became Mayor. You make it easy for me to do that, because all I have to is tell people to have a look at our fabulous range of shops, look what our businesses offer, see how amazing they are. You provide a great reason for people to visit our town.”
Junior Judges’ Award – sponsored by Tempo FM
Winner - Touchwood, High Street
Runner Up – The Nail Lounge, Church Street
Adult Judges’ Award – sponsored by Wetherby Now
Winner – The Rainflorist, Cross Street
Runner Up – Doodlebug, Church Street
Public’s Choice Award – sponsored by Handpicked Local
Winner – Touchwood, High Street
Runner Up – The Rainflorist, Cross Street
Welcome to Wetherby Special Award – sponsored by Excelle Magazine
Winner – The Decorating Centre, Ainsty Road