Marketing, PR and Event Management...with a little bit of magic Marketing, PR and Event Management...with a little bit of magic

The historic Derbyshire town of Bolsover has been rated best in the UK for outstanding customer service.

In a mystery shopper exercise conducted by retail skills specialist, The Source Skills Academy, the town’s retailers were highlighted as going above and beyond to achieve exceptional levels of service.

The Source has been conducting Mystery Shopping projects for the last three years in town centres, districts and markets around the UK.

George Elliott, business communications manager from The Source, commented, “We found the warmth and friendliness of Bolsover retailers to be outstanding. We have never yet visited a town that has scored as highly.”

Bolsover’s mystery shopping scores were revealed at the Bolsover Town Jewel Awards ceremony last night (23 February), which was held to celebrate business growth and success in the town.

Castle Card Shop, run by owner Dawn Clark since mid-2014, was named overall winner in the Awards.

The Bolsover Town Jewel Awards and Mystery Shopping project come after the town last year won a £750K bid for European funding to brush up Bolsover’s image and boost the local economy, backed by a marketing campaign to increase visitor footfall.

“I’m truly passionate about customer service,” added Mr Elliott. “Any business of any size can stand out against the competition by prioritising their customers, encouraging them to come back time and time again.”

“As Bolsover already has the popular attraction of Bolsover Castle, this is a brilliant opportunity for the town to attract more visitors and local residents to shop here.”

The 12 top-scoring businesses in the Mystery Shopper exercise were:

Bella Blu
Castle Barbers
Castle Card Shop
Castle Cycles
Castleside Carpets
Claim to Frame
English Heritage Castle Gift Shop
Funky Monkey
Georges Fashion and Footwear
Parkers Opticians
Ultima Hair Salon
For more information about Bolsover, visit * , email, follow us on Twitter @alloverbolsover or like our Discover Bolsover facebook page.


For press enquiries please contact Liz Close at Ruby Slippers Ltd, on 07729 130957 / 0114 221 7487 or email or


The Source Skills Academy offers a range of services to assist in the evaluation of Customer Service in a range of different locations and in a variety or retail settings. The Source has conducted 16 Mystery Shopping projects over the last three years in town centres, districts and markets around the UK.

Mystery shopping methodology

The Source has developed a Retail Experience Quality Matrix breaking down the shopping experience into a variety of elements which are classified under 20 categories and are grouped into 3 sections. Mystery shop activity is undertaken by a team of experienced retail managers and practiced mystery shoppers. The survey activity takes place over a set period of time with each shopper following a pre-determined shopping pattern, changing their appearance as required to maintain anonymity.

A written report is provided for each Mystery Shop undertaken and is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation of the project findings. The reports are constructed in a way that allows the retailers to use the findings to facilitate service improvement and also as a guide to training needs analysis and customer service programmes. The criteria used covers:

Store standards
Service Interactions
Staff knowledge


*The Discover Bolsover projectis part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit