Falkirk’s Howgate is customers’ champ

Howgate boss Suzanne Arkinson and cleaning supervisor Helen McIvor with ACE awards''Picture: Michael Gillen
Howgate boss Suzanne Arkinson and cleaning supervisor Helen McIvor with ACE awards''Picture: Michael Gillen
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Staff at Falkirk’s Howgate shopping centre swept all before them as they cleaned up at an awards ceremony.

Staff at Falkirk’s Howgate shopping centre swept all
before them as they cleaned up at an awards ceremony, 
beating off stiff competition in the process.

As well as being named the country’s top mall in the Achieving Customer Excellence Awards (ACE), cleaning supervisor Helen McIvor lifted an Individual Star accolade.

Howgate general manager Suzanne Arkinson was delighted to win the category for smaller centres under 40,000 square metres, but was stunned when the Howgate was named the overall winner.

More than 100 centres were entered from across Britain and Ireland, including Westfield in London, the Arndale Centre Manchester and the Bluewater complex in Kent.

Back from the event in Cardiff, Suzanne said: “We have just about returned to earth now. We aren’t the UK’s biggest shopping centre, but now we can genuinely say we are 
the best. To have come through such a rigorous judging process as top centre for customer excellence is tremendous.

“The list of a 101 entrants across all the categories is a line up of the biggest and best shopping centres in Britain. To come out on top is a huge recognition for the Howgate – and for Falkirk.”

The ACE awards are run by BCSC and hosted by Shopping Centre Magazine.

In taking the overall title the Howgate had to deal with a host of mystery shopper enquiries over a three-month period including in person and through social media.

Suzanne added: “People always say awards are for the team. But in this case it is exactly that – shopping centres are all about teamwork: management, staff and tenants all working together.

“And keeping the place clean is one of the most vital roles in the team. So it’s appropriate that Helen, who has been with us for nine years, picked up a rare Superstar Award.