The top awards in convenience have been decided. Following a difficult judging process, the best retailers in the UK have been recognised and rewarded, beating off some tough competition.
What set these stores apart from the competition and what did our judging panel think about the category winners?
Small Convenience Store of the Year
Ash’s Shop, Cambridgeshire
Shifting away from an Aladdin’s Cave approach to retailing, the judges loved how every product in this store has to earn its right to be on the shelf meaning the team have to be ruthless in their approach to category management. The judging panel was also impressed by the use of data to ensure the right product mix as well as the staff’s community work to make them a real hub for the area.
Independent Convenience Store of the Year
Spar Parkfoot Garage, Kent
Judges were impressed by the Spar Parkfoot’s use of technology and social media to help get further engaged with the community. An in-store butchery counter proved to be a real winner with customers, particularly in the run-up to Christmas while staff development is a massive priority for the management team. The store benefits from constant reinvestment and scrutiny of range to ensure it has the best possible offer for its customers, all while being open 24/7 365 days a year.
Large Convenience Store of the Year
Tout’s Langford, Bristol
Described by one customer as a little bit of heaven, Tout’s was a worthy winner in a tough category. The store’s loyalty scheme was heavily praised by the judging panel as was the staff development plan which offers employees 50% funding towards any personal development training they wish to undertake. The team’s decision to switch symbol groups and invest £64,000 to reinvigorate the business’ two stores was a bold one during the pandemic but has certainly paid off.
Multiple Managed Convenience Store of the Year
Spar Malone Road, Co. Antrim
Located close to Queen’s University in Belfast, the store has had to upgrade its offering to suit both the modern student and working professionals. The management team introduced more than 600 new lines as part of a refit and range review, surprising customers and sometimes themselves with the success of their fresh offering. The store is heavily involved in the local community and raised more than £10,000 for good causes last year.
Customer Delivery Store of the Year
MJ’s Premier Store, Lancashire
Hitting the £1m milestone earlier this year, the team at MJ’s have taken customer delivery to a whole new level. The store’s success in delivery has generated new revenue stream and allowed the business to grow bigger and better. The judging panel praised MJ’s for developing and implementing a pioneering and innovative delivery offer that is bolstered by a strong emphasis on utilising social media to communicate their offer to customers.
Food to Go Store of the Year
Mulkerns Eurospar, Co. Down
As one judge put it, this is food to go at its best. The variety and quality of options at Eurospar Mulkerns impressed the judging panel, especially the afternoon tea and fish and chips offers which provided a new approach to food to go. The team’s willingness to listen to and try out new ideas as well as its strong marketing within the local community put them top of the class when it comes to food to go.
Convenience Rising Star of the Year
Enya McAteer, Mulkerns Spar Jonesborough
Praised for her excellent approach to management and productivity as well as a strong eye for detail, Convenience Rising Star of the Year Enya McAteer blew away the judging panel. Enya’s approach to leading her team including new policies, feedback, as well as strong internal and external communication set her apart from the competition, with one judge commenting on how she has driven a real-step change in the performance of the business and its staff.
Community Retailer of the Year
H & Jodies Nisa Local, Walsall
The team were commended for their fantastic energy and support for the local community. Their work to help source and donate PPE equipment was highly praised as was the decision to open up the space at the store for a vaccination centre. The team’s efforts show they are clearly engrained in the local community and work tirelessly to support it.
New Store/Refit of the Year
Welcome – Brockenhurst, Hampshire
The team at Welcome Brockenhurst were praised by judges for its entire approach to this project. From engagement with the local community during the planning stages, to using experience and lessons learnt in other sites through to actually delivering a successful end proposition which beat its original targets, this store has exceeded customers’ expectations.
Sustainability Retailer of the Year
Mulkerns Eurospar, Co. Down
Sustainability is part of this store’s core values, with every aspect of the business examined to see how it could be done more sustainably. The team has embraced local sourcing, re-fillable produce and food waste management as well as done amazing work to communicate it to customers, particularly younger ones via engagement with local schools. Its sustainability work is built into staff training and even extends to the back office with a paperless office.
Sales Colleague of the Year
Natalie was described as an outstanding colleague as well as asset to her store and her community by the judging panel. The judges were extremely impressed by her progression in the business as well as the support she shows her local community. Her dedication to the role and the wider area makes her a worthy winner of the Sales Colleague of the Year category.
Retailers’ Retailer of the Year
H & Jodie’s Nisa Local, Walsall
Praised for calling out anyone they feel are taking advantage of convenience industry. The team at H & Jodie’s were lauded for pushing forward standards, being agile enough to change their range to what people expect and want and doing this whilst challenging the industry. Their work in the community came in for high praise from our retailer judging panel, making them worthy Retailers’ Retailer of the Year category winners.
Convenience Retailer of the Year
Spar Parkfoot Garage, Kent
In a very tough year with some fantastic entries, Spar Parkfoot’s constant dedication to enhancing the business set them apart from the competition. Owner David Charman has taken an already excellent store and levelled up in every aspect. From the success of its home delivery offer to working with local suppliers to ensure unique produce, Spar Parkfoot is everything an excellent convenience should be and a worthy winner of Convenience Retailer of the Year.