Staff at a fancy dress shop in Ellesmere Port are over the moon after earning a top national award.

John Timpson, chairman of close-knit family-owned cobblers and key cutters Timpsons, which dates back to the 19th century, is a business agony uncle at the Daily Telegraph .

Responding to a reader’s question, he wrote about firms large and small which he believed were market leaders and candidates for an award.

He concluded that Party Place, based on Whitby Road, was deserving of an accolade, and was delighted to present a trophy to staff there.

In his column, he wrote: “I prefer to recognise entrepreneurs who do it all themselves. To represent these superstars I have chosen a real niche business.

“If invited to a fancy dress party and the theme is anything from ‘Dead Famous’ to ‘the Sixties’ you will find the answer at Party Place in Ellesmere Port.

“They have three floors full of costumes for hire and, even better, helpful colleagues all with a welcoming smile who make shopping fun.

“I always leave with exactly what I want and a broad grin, which is what will be on my face next time I call to present them with my Business of the Year award.”

Telegraph columnist John Timpson, chairman of the Timpson group of companies
Telegraph columnist John Timpson, chairman of the Timpson group of companies

Owner Betty Fetherston certainly had a smile on her face after John had popped into the shop at 35 Whitby Road, just a few minutes walk from his local Timpson and Max Spielmann outlets, to do just that.

In business in the town for 40 years, she said:“With over 3,000 costumes over three floors, we try to have everything the customer needs.

“The key is the knowledgeable friendly staff who love what they do.

“This has been a great boost for us and hopefully Ellesmere Port.”

Betty opened in 1971 as Grapevine Boutique, which traded successfully for about 20 years.

She said: “Fashion changed and I needed a new challenge so I changed it to a balloon shop, which in turn led to a one stop party shop specialising in fancy dress hire.

“I employ two full- and three part-time staff, plus seasonal staff.

“I read of the award in the Telegraph in the John Timpson business column.

“The staff and I were delighted especially when he came in unexpectedly to present us with the award.”

Renowned for his unconventional ‘upside down’ approach to running a business, Mr Timpson told the Pioneer: “I have visited Party Place several times over the last 10 or so years because members of my family seem to have a thing about having themed parties.

“I didn't discover the shop, my wife Alex told me to go there.

“I find it best to do what she says because, as in this case, she is always right!

“The nearest Timpson shop is about 600 yards away on the outside of the Port Arcades Shopping Centre and we also have a Max Spielmann photo shop inside the precinct.”

Mr Timpson, whose firm has 850 branches nationwide with a turnover of �150m, added: “While there’s been a lot of whingeing about the woes of the high street, some of the smarter traders have shown the way, simply by providing what people want in 2014.

“These companies are creating the future of shopping while others complain life is too difficult.”