RCT businesses have shown they can compete with the best anywhere as the results of the Welsh Government "High Street Heroes" awards were announced.
The awards are part of the Support Your High Street campaign, which aims to showcase the range of shops and services available in town centres across Wales, and the significant contribution they make to the local economy and community life.
The overall winner was Giles gallery of Pontyclun, run by Beth Giles. The business is located in the former Methodist Church on Llantrisant Road and promotes and sells the work of new and local artists from South Wales as well as selling arts supplies and offering picture framing.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly candidate for Pontypridd Mike Powell said
"Congratulations are due to Beth and her team on winning this very prestigious award and beating off some very strong opposition.
"It is this sort of enterprise that keeps our smaller high streets going and contributes so much to our local communities.
"Seeing not only an RCT winner but a number of other local businesses amongst the list of finalists is a testament to the innovation that exists and the hard work that is put in by traders in often difficult circumstances."
The Rhondda wasn't to be outdone, with several businesses coming out ahead there.
In the 'Fashion, Health and Beauty' category, Porth in the Rhondda is obviously the place to head for. Pout Boutique was the winner of that section.
They sell a range of baby and children's clothing as well as natural skincare products, handmade bespoke gifts and candles. Bella Boutique, which offers a range of spa and beauty treatments was Highly Commended.
Karen Roberts, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly candidate for the Rhondda said
"It is a difficult time for our high streets which are battling against out of town centres with free parking and longer opening hours.
"Many of the national multi outlet retailers are disappearing from our high streets and the future for our town centres surely lies with smaller, more novel stores that offer the customer something different."
Highstreet Media in Treorchy took top spot in the 'Professional and financial services' category whilst Hot Gossip of Treorchy, and Margaritelli Fish Bar of Ferndale were Highly Commended in the 'Eating out on the High Street' category.