MJs exterior new

Premier-branded MJ’s Store in Royton, Greater Manchester, was named Convenience Retailer of the Year at Thursday’s 2019 Convenience Retail Awards.

Store owner Justin Whittaker collected the accolade at the Royal Lancaster Hotel on Thursday evening, along with the award for Best Small Store. The recently-refitted 1,400sq ft community store was praised for its high standards and investment in innovation, including a dessert bar offering, dedicated food to go zone, chilled beer room and local delivery service.

Accompanied by his family - wife Melanie, son Leon and daughter Savannah - Justin said: “It is our first time at the Convenience Retail Awards so to come away with so many awards is really something. As a team and family we have worked really hard this past year so it is nice that we can celebrate all our work.

“I’m amazed that we won the main award and it came as a total shock to all of us. We’ve tried lots of new things to get customers into the store and have introduced things like crepes and waffles to our dessert menu.

“It really means the world that we have been recognised and we are constantly looking at ways to improve and make sure that we can be the best convenience store in the future. I think in the convenience industry you have to look at what everyone else is doing and learn from that to take your business to the next level.”

The Convenience Retail Awards is organised by sister titles Convenience Store and The Grocer. Convenience Store editor David Rees said: “Justin and his family have taken some bold steps to future-proof their store in line with changing customer needs, without losing the local connection that has served them so well for the past 30 years of trading.”

Other winners on the night include Paul Stone’s Spar Princess Street in Manchester, which was named Best Independent Store, Eurospar in Donegall Road, Belfast, which was named Best Large Store, and Simply Fresh at Surrey University, which picked up three awards including Best Multiple Store, Best Customer Service and the Innovation Award.

The awards were sponsored by Aqua Carpatica, the ACS, Bestway & Best-one, Booker, Camelot, Carlsberg, the Co-op, F’Real, Juul Labs, HIM, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, the National Convenience Show, Pladis, Shopt, and Spar.


Convenience Retailer of the Year 

MJ’s Premier

Best Small Store

MJ’s Premier, Royton

Best Independent Store

Spar Princess Street, Manchester

Best Multiple / Franchise Store

Simply Fresh, Surrey University

Best Large Store

Eurospar Donegall Road, Belfast

Retailers’ Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Pladis

Mo Razzaq (Family Shopper, Blantyre)

Best Customer Service, sponsored by Bestway

Simply Fresh Surrey University

Best Communication to Shoppers, sponsored by Booker

Spar Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland

Community Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Camelot

Family Shopper, Blantyre

Food to Go Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Spar UK

(large store)

Spar Donegall Road, Belfast

Food to Go Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Spar UK

(small store)

Scotmid Bankton

Innovation Award, sponsored by F’Real

Simply Fresh, Surrey University

Excellence in Impulse Award, sponsored by Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Londis Lechlade, Gloucestershire

Best Use of Technology, sponsored by Shopt - CPM UK

Family Shopper, Blantyre

Off Licence Store of the Year

Premier Kenninghall, Norfolk

Best Chilled Food Retailer

McBride’s Spar, Mullaghmore

Energy Efficiency Award

Scotmid Bankton

Product of the Year, sponsored by Best-one

Maltesers Buttons


convenience retailer of the year_002

Justin Whittaker (second left) and family