The cream of the convenience store industry came together for an evening of commendation and celebration at the 2012 Convenience Retail Awards (CRA) in London last week.

Organised by Convenience Store magazine and The Grocer, the awards recognise excellence in the convenience retailing industry across independents (unaffiliated and symbol), large convenience stores, small stores and the multiples.

The most prestigious award, Convenience Retailer of The Year, was claimed by Sussex store Knight’s Budgens of Hassocks.

Owned by husband and wife team David and Lynette Knight, the store wowed judges with its support of the local community, including local products.

The store also boasts some admirable environmental credentials.

In addition to the overall award, Knight’s Budgens also picked up the title of Best Large Store.

Convenience Store editor David Rees said Knights Budgens of Hassocks represented everything that was great about the local retailing sector. “It has a superb range of products, excellent retail standards, and a truly impressive way of supporting, and interacting with, local manufacturers and the local community at large. David and Lynette Knight, and the team at the store, have built a local enterprise that everyone involved can truly be proud of,” he added.

Other winners on the night included Warner’s Budgens of Broadway, which scooped Best Independent Store, and Spar Great Victoria Street in Belfast, which was crowned Best Small Store.

A number of special awards that recognise hard work and outstanding performance in retail disciplines were also presented to worthy winners. Sunstar Group in London claimed the Responsible Retailer of the Year accolade, while Frankmarsh Store, in Barnstaple Devon won the Zero Tolerance award for crime prevention.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Malcolm Cheema, who established his family-run Costcutter store in Coventry more than 30 years ago.