The Barry Group has qualified to represent Ireland in the 2016 European Business Awards

The award was created to recognise and promote business success and community throughout Europe

Based in Mallow in Cork, the long established Barry Group owns the Costcutter, Quik Pick and Carry Out independent retail franchise brands, and provides wholesale food and alcohol distribution to over 800 independent retailers through its nationwide central distribution network.

An outline of the Barry Group business and its success is presented in an online video posting at www.businessawardseurope.com, where businesses and individuals can support the Cork company's award nomination, and its drive to become overall European Champion.

With national entrants independently adjudicated in the first round of the competition, based on video and written entries, European finalists then enter the second round of online public voting.

The first phase of the online voting opens today, Monday 11 January, running until Friday 26 February 2016, and Jim Barry, Managing Director of the Barry Group, is encouraging the company's trade associates and retail customers to get behind this European award nomination.

"The Barry Group is proud to represent Ireland and our extensive business associates in this competition. We are hopeful that people will go online and vote for our awards entry, which recognises the excellent work of our team and independent retail network across Ireland in delivering excellent retail services in local communities", Jim Barry commented.

The retail distribution business, which celebrated sixty years in operation in 2015, is also recognised in Deloitte's Best Managed Companies annual accolades, and in Ireland's Great Place to Work awards, where Jim Barry was also named Most Trusted Leader for 2015.

The European Business Awards is now in its 9th year, and the competition attracted over 24,000 entries in 2015. All EU member markets are represented as well as Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Macedonia. The 2016 winners will be announced at a European Business Awards Gala event next June.

They were created to recognise and promote business success and support the development of a stronger business community throughout Europe, according to Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards.

"For all the citizens of Europe, prosperity and social wellbeing relies on our business communities striving for an even stronger, more innovative, successful and ethical international business community. Bringing top performing national businesses together to compete at this level both recognises their achievement and encourages the business community overall," Adrian Tripp says.

To support the Barry Group in this year's competition, votes can be cast on www.businessawardseurope.com, by first registering using an email address, and then clicking on the Irish section, and the Barry Group video entry.

The opening of ten new Costcutter and Quik Pick stores in the last quarter of 2015 saw the Mallow-based Barry Group add almost forty new independent retail franchises to its customer base last year.

The strengthened business included eighteen new Costcutter stores, six Quik Pick convenience stores, and fourteen Carry Out off-licences, adding in excess of €80m retail turnover to the group's combined buying power.

New Dublin Costcutter outlets opened in Clondalkin and Walkinstown, with Galway store openings in Dunmore and Ballybane, as well as new independently-owned Costcutter franchises in Templemore, Enfield, and Dundalk.

The Barry Group also experienced unprecedented growth in its Carry Out off-licence brand, with eight Dublin off-licences belonging to the Louis Fitzgerald Group joining the independent Carry Out brand in October last.

Total job numbers represented by the new franchise businesses in 2015 were in excess of 300. The number of new jobs created is put at 100, with some of the new group retailers having previously traded as independent outlets, or under another franchise brand.

The key to developing the retail franchise business is in delivering profitable solutions to retail partners, so that they can compete with the international operators, Jim Barry, the Group MD says.

"In the Barry Group we pride ourselves on being hands-on and innovation driven. It is our business to provide solutions for our retail partners, so that they can concentrate on running modern, vibrant stores at the heart of local communities, and offer quality, value, and good friendly service", Jim Barry maintains.