THE National Retailer of the Year award celebrates the HBID member that best demonstrates that they are at the heart of and an essential part of Hereford life.

The finalists showed how they contributed to the business community in Hereford, providing employment to local people, as well as offering consumers choice, quality and service.

The shortlisted retailers are: Waitrose; Wilko Retail Ltd; and Specsavers Hereford.

Waitrose said it has brought a new standard of food to Hereford's retail landscape and become a linchpin of the Old Market Shopping Centre.

All Waitrose employees are partners in the business and share in its success.

Through the Community Matters scheme, the branch has supported 36 local charities and groups to improve Hereford.

The partners are encouraged to volunteer in the community within their working hours to help causes that are personally close to their heart.

Wilko is a national retailer with more than 400 shops, which is passionate about providing excellent products at the right prices in the heart of every community.

Wilko always plays a huge part of each community around its shops. They provide a helping hands scheme which offers donations and help to local events and charities. Recently Wilko Hereford provided a local animal shelter enough food to look after its animals for two weeks.

Along with the helping hands scheme, Wilko is the driving force behind the Hereford healthy high street campaign, in association with HBID they bring all the other retailers together to make a difference to the local community.

Specsavers Hereford is part of a national chain of opticians that is instantly recognisable on any high street country-wide and they are often the first name people think of when it comes to eye tests or glasses.

As a company, Specsavers started as a small business owned by Doug and Mary Perkins in 1984, now 33 years later it has more than 1,300 stores in the UK and across the globe reaching as far as Australia and New Zealand.

Hereford Specsavers was one of the earliest stores to open back in 1987 and have been a presence in Maylord Orchard Shopping Centre ever since.

Specsavers as a company puts huge emphasis on the service and value they deliver to every customer they serve.