McLeish Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, has been crowned the UK’s best convenience store at the 2016 Convenience Retail Awards, the prestigious national awards run by Convenience Store and The Grocer.

The store, which also won the Small Convenience Store category, beat off stiff competition from stores across the UK to clinch the top prize at the awards ceremony in London last night (Thursday).

Scott (pictured) impressed the judges with tremendous standards and expertly honed points of difference within the confines of the 1,500sq ft store.

Food to go represents 15% of sales, with all products made in store, including sandwiches, curries and macaroni. Half the products on sale are local, and sales are up 13% year on year.

Scott said: “I’m delighted for my wife and I, it’s a family business, and I’m delighted for the team at McLeish. I’d like to thank all the customers and hope they continue to shop with us.

“We want to carry on focusing on fresh and local suppliers, they’re the lifeblood of our business. Going forward we hope to open a second and third store and continue to promote the north east of Scotland.

“I think we won because we’re a bit different to the standard c-store, we promote local wherever we can and fresh is a huge part of our offering. We’re just 1500sq ft and we’ve shown what you can do in that small space.”

Convenience Store editor David Rees, who chaired the judging panel, said: “McLeish represents everything that is great about modern convenience retailing with a mouthwatering food range, genuine points of difference in the offering and all the major product categories delivered expertly in a relatively confined store footprint.

“Scott’s efficient use of space and commitment to product quality makes McLeish a worthy overall champion in a year where all the award contenders were of an exceptional standard.”

Other major winners on the night included Costcutter Farnworth, Bolton, which was named Best Independent Store, Welcome Marchwood – a franchise store of the Southern Co-op - which won Best Multiple Store and Costcutter Ellon in Aberdeenshire, which took the accolade of Best Large Store.

In addition, McBride’s Spar store in Omagh, Northern Ireland, won three of the product category awards up for grabs, with Malcolm’s Nisa in Tile Hill, Coventry picking up two.

Bay Bashir, who runs Belle Vue Convenience in Middlesbrough under the Lifestyle Express brand, was named Retailers’ Retailer of the Year, while the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Raju Patel of Premier Eldred Drive Stores in Orpington, Kent.

The winners

Convenience Retailer of the Year

McLeish Inverurie, Aberdeenshire

Best Small Store

McLeish Inverurie, Aberdeenshire

Best Independent Store

Costcutter Farnworth, Bolton

Best Multiple Store

Co-op Welcome, Marchwood, Hampshire

Best Large Store

Costcutter Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Best New Store

Stone Spar Princess St, Manchester

Best Chilled Food Retailer

Spar McBride’s, Omagh, Co Tyrone

Best Off Licence Retailer

Malcolm’s Nisa Tile Hill, Coventry

Food to Go Retailer of the Year

McBride’s Spar, Omagh, Co Tyrone

Best Use of Technology

Co-op Welcome Frobisher, Hampshire

Best Communication to Shoppers

McBride’s Spar, Omagh, Co Tyrone

Community Retailer of the Year

Singh’s Premier, Sheffield

Responsible Retailing Award

Premier Eldred Drive Stores, Orpington, Kent

Best Customer Service

Malcolm’s Nisa Tile Hill, Coventry

Best Services Retailer

Budgens Aylsham, Norfolk

Champion of Energy Efficiency

Londis Sheppey, Kent

Retailer’s Retailer of the Year

Bay Bashir, Lifestyle Express Belle Vue

Lifetime Achievement Award

Raju Patel, Premier Eldred Drive Stores, Orpington, Kent

Product of the Year

Coca-Cola bottles with a bow