Blue Water Bridge Duty Free Shop wins “2004 Platinum Award”

Local family-owned business receives second consecutive “Platinum Award” as ‘Retailer of the Year’ from the Canadian Frontier Duty Free Association.

In 2002, when Garvin Lee and family completely upgraded their duty-free business on the Blue Water Bridge plaza in Sarnia, Ontario, the objective was to create a world-class duty free operation. They had no idea that their shop would receive so many awards and so much respect within the worldwide duty-free industry.

Last Wednesday in Quebec City at the 20th Annual Convention of Canada’s Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA), The Blue Water Bridge Duty Free Shop (Blue Water) received its second consecutive “Platinum Award”. This award is presented to only one duty free shop each year from across all of Canada, following a strict assessment program performed by an independent judge retained by the FDFA.

The FDFA’s assessment audits 84 distinct areas of retail operation including the quality of overall facilities, customer service, merchandising, product selection, new product innovations, cleanliness of public washrooms, public relations & marketing, and provision of competitive tax and duty-free prices that afford customers substantial savings off normal retail prices. The Platinum Award is part of the FDFA’s Gold Standards Award Program, sponsored by trade magazine Duty Free News International, and is designed to constantly motivate Canadian duty free operators to raise standards along the border.

Blue Water’s 2004 Platinum Award follows its unprecedented recognition in 2003 as ‘Airport/Land-based Retailer of the Year’ by the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) in Cannes, France. TFWA is the world’s largest duty-free industry association. Blue Water was the first land border duty free shop ever to win this prestigious award that represents the highest accolade in the worldwide duty free industry. Traditionally this award has only been won by large duty free operations at major international airports. In 2002, Blue Water was selected as runner up for TFWA’s award for ‘Best Marketing Campaign of the Year by a Retailer’.

The Blue Water Bridge Duty Free Shop is proof that smaller community-based businesses with local market expertise can compete effectively in today’s business environment, providing quality and value on par or better than the dominant big box retailers. The shop is located on the Canadian Blue Water Bridge Plaza in Point Edward (Sarnia), Ontario. With over 15,000 square feet of tax and duty free merchandise, Coffee Lodge fast food outlet, money exchange with fair exchange rates, and extremely clean public washrooms, Blue Water Duty Free is one stop you will not want to miss when crossing the border between the U.S. and Canada.

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