Lancaster gift shop and gallery voted best in the county

Graham Armstrong Jones, owner of Inspire.
Graham Armstrong Jones, owner of Inspire.

A Lancaster gift shop and gallery has won the title of Lancashire’s Best Gift Shop at the county’s Retail Business Awards.

Inspire Gifts & Gallery in New Street, went up against six other Lancashire businesses for the award, and will now be put forward for the national finals in June.

Graham Armstrong Jones, owner of Inspire, said: “To be nominated for such a prestigious award was amazing in itself. But what we didn’t know until the awards ceremony was that we were up against six other Lancashire businesses which make this the most hotly contended category of the evening.”

England’s Business Awards, organiser of the regional events, use a three part approach to deciding the winner once a business has been nominated.

The first part is an unannounced visit to the shop to have a chat with the owner and get a feel for the business.

Customers are encouraged to vote for the business online and finally there is a secret shopper who reposts back on how well their own experience was.

The voters’ opinions also contributed to Inspire Gifts also taking home the Best Lancaster Business award making it a double celebration for Graham.

One of the many reasons this business won are the varied exhibitions and events run in the first floor gallery which features local artists as well as prints and canvases.

This Saturday, May 4, the gallery hosts its first Makers Market which features a variety of local makers and artists stalls.

The event will be held on the first floor gallery at Inspire Gifts.

The idea came about following conversations with local makers who were keen to find outlets for their crafts.

The first market will fill both of the first floor gallery rooms with stalls from a variety of local makers who normally sell using online platforms.

By setting up stall at Inspire Gifts they will create a unique mini market in Lancaster with a view to establishing it as a permanent monthly fixture for shoppers from across Lancashire.

The first market will feature amongst other things hand dyed yarn, upcycled furniture, paintings, greetings cards, craft kits for all ages, copper and silver jewellery, glass bead bracelets and home decorations made from driftwood and sea glass.

The market will be open from 10am to 4 pm on the first Saturday of every month.