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Preston’s public have the opportunity to vote for their high street heroes with the return of the ‘Preston, It Smiles Better – The Awards’.
The prizes are back for a second year after a hugely successful competition in 2015, which saw more than 200 nominations and 98,000 public votes.
They are organised by Preston Business Improvement District (BID) and provide Preston‘s visitors with the chance to show their support for the city’s leisure and retail businesses.  This year, the awards are sponsored by the Fishergate Shopping Centre and St. George’s Shopping Centre.
“The aim of last year’s awards was to show just how far our great city has progressed in recent years and we want to build on that this time around,” said BID manager, Mark Whittle.
“We have such a vibrant city centre that offers something for everyone, whether people are coming for a shopping trip or a night out.
“What better way to celebrate that than to reward the unsung heroes whose customer service keep those visitors coming back for more?
“The feedback we received from last year proved the decision to expand last year’s awards was the right one.
“The level of interest displayed showed that Preston really is Smiles Better!”
Keith Mitchell, manager of the Fishergate Shopping Centre, said: “Preston has a growing reputation as a vibrant shopping and visitor destination that delivers fantastic levels of service. And that is down to the people who work in our shops, restaurants, bars and cafes.
“We’re very pleased to be supporting this initiative. It is a fantastic way to show why Preston really is ‘Smiles Better’ and to recognise and reward those people whose efforts make the city centre the special place it is.”
The awards were introduced in 2015 as an extension of the ‘Alive After Five Awards’, adding the retail sector to a scheme which had previously focused on the hospitality industry.
General manager at St George’s Shopping Centre, Andrew Stringer, said: “Customer service teams across Preston play an integral role in making sure visitors come back to the city again and again.
“These teams help to give a great first impression of Preston and promote it as an attractive place to shop, work and do business.
“The Smiles Better Awards are the perfect opportunity to recognise the hard work and continued efforts of everyone involved and we are thrilled to be a sponsor this year.”
Last year’s ceremony at Evoque Nightclub saw Friargate-based florist Margaret Mason take home the special recognition prize for more than 50 years’ service to Preston city centre. Guests were also treated to a special appearance from the late David Gest.
This year there will be 15 categories for the public to vote in, as well as one special recognition award.
Voting opens on Wednesday, April 20 with deadline day coming on Friday, May 20; the awards ceremony itself is in June.
Votes can be cast, by clicking HERE.

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