Top Three Winners Announced in 1st Hungarian Visa Top Shop Competition for SME Stores


Representatives of the Visa Top Shop winners. From left, Györgytea Miskolc, Bartók Pagony, NekedTerem and Harrer Csokoládéműhely.

Photo by Visa Hungary.

The awards for the first Hungarian Visa Top Shop competition have been presented. The evaluation criteria included the store’s design, uniqueness, presentation of goods, use of innovative technologies, the attitude of the staff, and the application of modern payment methods.

Since the competition’s launch in October 2022, one store from a different part of Hungary has been added to the list of finalists each month. A 10-member professional jury decided the overall ranking.

“We are delighted to announce the winners of the Visa Top Shop competition. These businesses exemplify the innovative power of small- and medium-sized enterprises, which function as the engine of our economy, strengthening local communities,” said Bence Sármay, Visa’s country manager responsible for Hungary.

“Digital payments transform the available payment methods for businesses, open the way to new customers, enable the simple acceptance, tracking, and control of expenses, enhance security and efficiency, thus fostering growth,” he said.

“By expanding sales channels, small businesses can increase their opportunities from [an] exclusive local presence to serving a national or even international customer base. With the Visa Top Shop competition, we aim to showcase numerous customer-centric businesses to Hungarian consumers and assist retailers in improving the shopping experience based on best practices,” Sármay added.

Bookstore Winner

The first-place winner of the competition was Bartók Pagony. Dóra Sárdi, the bookstore owner, expressed her gratitude after receiving the recognition.

“Thank you for the acknowledgment. We are proud to have won the Visa Top Shop award. The enthusiastic team at Bartók Pagony has been working towards satisfied customers for 10 years; that’s why this award is an important confirmation for us. It shows that, regardless of age, the customer is truly the most important to us,” she said.

“Our goal is that anyone who comes to us not only leaves with quality children’s books and exciting games but also experiences, knowledge, and the feeling that they are understood, valued, and appreciated. As parents and individuals interested in culture, we welcome and look forward to our customers not only with books and games but also with programs and a café because we value the little ones and their parents too,” she added.

Second place went to Györgytea Miskolc, with third awarded to NekedTerem. Györgytea is named after György Szabó, who is known throughout the country as the herbalist of Bükk. The store’s design and style successfully combine the atmosphere of a classic pharmacy with a modern retail store. Knowledgeable salespeople with expertise in folk medicine provide helpful suggestions and usage tips to visitors.

NekedTerem [Room for You] distributes and delivers quality products from domestic producers (ranging from groceries to eco-friendly household items) to customers. Its trademark is mindset-changing communication, with which it has built a growing community, aiming to meet the diverse needs of its clientele flexibly.

Special Prize

A special prize was also presented during the competition, awarded to the Harrer Csokoládéműhely chocolatier workshop by Visa Hungary employees.

The confectionery and sweets shop’s setup faithfully reflects the Harrer family’s business philosophy. The competition organizers noted that the elegant, meticulously selected furniture and accessories complete the experience for their guests. As part of its chocolate-tasting program, customers can learn about the ingredients used and the process of making the sweets.

“We believe that it is worth continuously improving the businesses and services of players in the retail sector to provide the highest possible shopping experience,” emphasized Zsuzsanna Csukás, a leader at Instore Consulting EU Hungary, which organizes and conducts the competition.

“We contribute to this by showcasing outstanding examples. In the first year of the competition, every finalist store excels in something. Our trained colleagues evaluate the entered stores through secret shopping, taking into account eight key criteria. Among them, the possibility of digital payments, which has become crucial in serving customers in recent years, is essential. Therefore, we are pleased that our competition’s namesake partner is Visa,” she added.

In addition to the top three winners and Harrer Csokoládéműhely, the other finalists of the Visa Top Shop competition were Bio-Barát Biobolt, Eglo, EtúHome, Fokt motor, Lachmann, Moai Jungle, Mountex, Platán Tata, Sasplant, Szemes Optika, and Vasas Szerszám Központ.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of March 22, 2024.

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