Since 2004, the Best of Intima holds an annual juried competition to choose outstanding specialty stores in 5 categories. The Best Shop Awards ceremony was held recently and it was a fun and lavish event. The evening began with an open bar cocktail party on the splendid rooftop terrace of an office building at 27th Street and Fifth Avenue. (What a lovely surprise to enter an ordinary building lobby and emerge onto a cocktail lounge on the rooftop with exquisite views of the Empire State Building, Con Edison clock tower building and the gold-topped New York Life Building!)
Winners were announced during the sit-down (indoor) dinner in the following categories: Concept Store, European Flair, Personal Touch, Reference Shop and Best of Intima’s Choice. I had the pleasure of announcing the winner of the Reference Shop, Trousseau II of Memphis, TN. What makes this awards event so special is the focus on the people who grew up with Hanky Panky—the specialty stores. As important as the department stores are now to our volume and continuing growth, it was the specialty stores who really helped grow our business for the first 25 years. We rely on those “mom ‘n pops” and their larger brethren to take the Hanky Panky message into many smaller towns not served by department stores. We rely on those stores who offer an exciting mix of hand-picked product and present it with their unique orientation. Hanky Panky sells to several thousand such stores and almost all of the BOI finalists are our customers. It was so wonderful to be a part of their excitement.