Podarok wins Cambridge BID’s best festive window competition for 2019
The winner of the best festive window from Cambridge’s array of independent shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafés has been announced.
Podarok gift shop, on Bene’t Street, has scooped the title with its beautiful hand-painted poinsettia window display.
Each year, Cambridge BID encourages independent retailers to join in the Christmas window competition and this year it was again supported by the Cambridge Independent.
Podarok beat a shortlist of eight businesses which were put to a public vote on the Love Cambridge Facebook page.
The shop’s manager, Carrie Pluck, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win the competition and want to thank everyone who voted for us. This is a great way to highlight all the amazing independent shops and businesses in Cambridge who make the city so interesting.
“Throughout the year we always make an effort with our window displays, and Christmas is no exception! This year, we decided to stick to a traditional theme, hand painted Christmas wreaths adorned with poinsettia flowers. Both windows combined took two days to install, and we hope they bring as much joy to shoppers as we get from creating them. I think everyone can see the effort that goes into our window displays, and the cheeky looking felted mice helped charm the voters.
“Along with the beautiful window displays, we have our own carefully chosen Christmas playlist on in store - just search Podarok on Spotify - which shoppers love. And we promise there’s no Mariah on there. This time of year the shop is covered in our hand-felted Christmas decorations, with the felted mistletoe being my favourite.”
Podarok is an independent gift shop filled with carefully chosen pieces, from quirky homewares and lighting, to unique handbags and jewellery.
Carrie, who sources the stock, said: “We're always on the hunt for new makers, artists and suppliers so we're always packed with something special for loved ones or just a treat for yourself.
“We've got pocket money priced gifts to make you giggle, handcrafted jewellery when you need to buy something extra special, and everything in between, and we even offer 10 per cent discount for all those thrifty students.”
Podarok has been a prominent member of independent business community in Cambridge since it first opened in 2012, and some shoppers may not know that back in May this year the shop changed hands and local couple Catherine Pearson and Jeremy Kay took the helm.
Carrie explains: “Podarok, the Russian word for gift, along with our cheeky Podarok Bear logo came along from the previous owner. Even though our ties are now only local to Cambridge, we just couldn't get rid of that mischievous bear that everyone in Cambridge knows us for. With a small and lovely team already in place, Podarok hasn't really changed too much from the outside looking in.”
Businesses were judged on the originality, visual impact and festivity of their window display as a whole. The shortlist of eight business was put to a public vote on the Cambridge BID Love Cambridge Facebook page to decide the eventual winner.
Podarok received a cheque for£150 to give to their charity of choice, which was Something To Look Forward To, an organisation that supports people affected by a cancer diagnosis.
Kristian Foreman, marketing and projects manager at Cambridge BID, said: “Cambridge BID has been running the Independent Christmas Window Competition for a number of years and are delighted that each year it proves even more popular with both participants and the public getting involved. We are very lucky to have such a fabulous range of independent retailers, cafés and restaurants and being able to showcase their amazing Christmas windows through this competition really is a pleasure.”