The couple fought off stiff competition from Alec Gardner of East Bergholt Post Office & Stores in Suffolk and brothers Alpesh & Bimal Patel of the Londis store in Finsbury Park, London - the winners of Best Village Store and Best Town Store - to bag the top prize.
Chris and Sue invested £250,000 in a 450sq ft extension and store refit to Spar's neighbourhood value format in a bid to claw back the 15% of trade they had lost. And it worked. Since the refit, sales are up 24%, they've increased footfall from 8,000 a week to 8,700, and basket spend is up to £4.18 from £3.66.
The pair were "flabbergasted" to win the award. "We're totally shocked - we didn't expect it at all," said Sue. "We're so pleased. After all our hard work it's the cream on top and makes it all worthwhile; it's amazing."
Chris added: "It's a combination of a lot of hard work by our staff, Sue and myself. It's nice to get recognition from the industry that what we are trying to do is right. It's very much a team effort and we couldn't do it without our staff. We have the ideas, but it's the staff who put them into practice. This award isn't just for Sue and I, it's for the shop as a whole."
The Lifetime Achievement award went to Harry Newton of Costcutter in Macclesfield. Harry was praised as a tremendous champion of the independent sector and an exceptional retailer in his own right.
Mark Prisk MP, Shadow Minister for Business and Enterprise, presented Lesley Brown of Frankmarsh Stores in Barnstaple, Devon, with the Zero Tolerance Award for Crime Prevention, while Landmark Wholesale won the Wholesaler Business Initiative award for its Hot House project.