Shop Front TileBILLY Goat, the Alresford-based, independent children’s shoe shop, has won the prestigious national award of Shop Front of the Year at the Footwear Industry Awards.

The award was judged by an expert panel including John Saunders of the British Footwear Association, Arthur Spencer-Bolland from the Independent Federation of Footwear Retailers, Laura West of the Society of Shoe Fitters, Cheryl Taylor of Footwear Today, and Sue Wiseman of Datateam.

Ms Taylor said: “The level of entries for the 2016 Shop Front of the Year Award was very high indeed, so a hard choice for the judges.

“However, this year’s winner, Billy Goat, deserves to be congratulated for a truly outstanding shop front. A skilled and innovative window display, which demonstrated a great flair for design. Well done!”

Event director Paul Ryder said: “These awards are designed to shine a spotlight on the UK’s most outstanding retailers for ensuring that the end user, the consumer, gets the service, quality, style and functionality they expect. Congratulations to Billy Goat for joining the ranks as a Footwear Industry Awards 2016 winner.”

Billy Goat opened its doors for business on August 1 last year, and since then has been measuring and fitting shoes for many families from Alresford, the surrounding villages, and as far away as Seattle on the west coast of the United States.

Shop owner Jo Hemsley is new to the shoe industry and the retail sector after spending 20 years in marketing for multi-national companies. She said: “I am delighted that we have won this award. It is just the beginning of our journey to make shopping for children’s shoes a more relaxing and enjoyable experience for both the parent and the child.”

The team at Billy Goat are passionate about shoe fitting and offer all their customers a free professional fitting service.

Ms Hemsley added: “There is no doubt that from birth to early teens, children’s feet are at their most vulnerable. There are 26 bones in the adult foot and they do not finish growing until around the age of 18. Therefore, it is vitally important that a child’s feet should be measured every time they get new shoes, even for teenagers – ensuring their feet can grow and development naturally.”

Billy Goat supports the community through hosting regular free podiatry days and shoe recycling to generate funds for local charities.