We opened our Spar store in May 2005. As we were first-time retailers and opened on a greenfield site, it was both challenging and rewarding. We’ve merely tried over the past 12 years to be the best we could for customers and staff, moving with the needs of the customers based on the feedback we receive.

We entered the Convenience Retail Awards with no expectations as we have never been ones to blow our own trumpet, so were surprised to have received a call to say we’d been shortlisted for our category (Best Independent Store). We attended the very lavish ceremony in London and all we hoped for was to enjoy the evening with good company as we were so chuffed to have been shortlisted.

When the winner was announced for the category award, we were shocked and proud at the same time – it was such a boost of confidence that ‘someone’ had given us recognition for the hard work we do. You can imagine how we felt when the final award was announced – Convenience Retailer of the Year. We were overwhelmed and even a bit emotional! It was an amazing feeling!

Since winning we have been inundated with good wishes and gifts from other retailers, suppliers and customers. It has given our customers more confidence in their shopping experience and our staff a great sense of security and pride in their employers, and we are very grateful for everyone’s support.

Our future holds lots of continued improvement with plans for more fresh participation, marketing our achievement and on 25 April we are also opening our second store, a fuel site. Onwards and upwards!