With hours to go, the feelgood factor is flowing

You have until midnight to nominate your favourite haunts for Best Shops 2016

 

With nominations closing tonight, we’re reading as fast as we can through your best shops votes, and enjoying the comments as they pour in. Pure goodwill is what carries votes in our Best Shops competition. The fact that readers take time to give a shout out to their favourite shops - places they love to spend time - is what makes it the contest unique.

And they’ve written reams on the subject - an estimated 1.5 million words to date - based on each of the 30,000 votes carrying 50 words - waxing lyrical about attentive service, shopkeepers that contribute to their communities, and simple things like staff remembering someone’s name really chime with readers.

It is this feel good factor that is the bedrock of the contest, says Peter Ward, a 2015 winner of the best market stall category for his Country Choice set-up at Limerick’s Milk Market. There’s an honesty to the competition that resonates with his clientele, Ward says.

“Customers vote for the café because it is a place where they spend so much of their lives. They feel they almost have a sense of ownership of Country Choice and want to wish us well. Some will nominate us while in the shop on their smart phone - more go home and do it.” Peter’s wife Mary actively discourages customers scanning their phones while in the shop - she would prefer them to have a chat.

Every year thousands of readers have taken the time to tell us what it is that they love about their favourite shop in this contest, backed by AIB.

This year fashion shops in particular have run really lovely campaigns. Temple Bar-based Indigo and Cloth’s denim blue video form is impressive. So it Bow and Pearl’s merchandising. But for sheer ingenuity Om Diva’s bespoke earrings fashioned out of the Best Shops logo will take some beating.

Dockyard No 8 in Bray’s Eggs Benedict will tempt readers to cast a last minute vote while former winner Ardkeen Quality Foods has uploaded an interactive video of their staff members holding boards asking customers to vote.

In the chase for nominations Liber bookshop in Sligo has customised its blackboard and it’s caught our attention while Select Stores in Dalkey has uploaded a cute family portrait, complete with family black Labrador, to Instagram but the most impressive plug of all is by rugby ace Gordon D’Arcy who has taken to Twitter to ask his people to vote for boutique hair salon Flatiron Dublin.

As the fifth year of the competition draws to a close - nominations close at midnight tonight - keep your eyes peeled on social media for last minute requests by your favourite shop for a vote.

If you haven’t already had your say yet you have til 12 o’clock tonight to do so before the competition closes and the judges start the process of trying to select a shortlist.

irishtimes.com/bestshops

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