West Country Spar operator Gillett’s has bought two new stores, including Chris Sharrinton’s award-winning shop in Helston, Cornwall.

The acquisitions, which also include a Nisa store in Dorchester, will bring the number of Spar shops operated by Gillett’s to 63. The Dorchester store is to undergo a refit.

Chris and Sue Sharrinton are retiring after 37 years running Spar Helston, which last year introduced a Subway franchise to complement its existing food-to-go operation. In 2007 the store won the UK Top Shop of The Year award, which is now the top prize at the Convenience Retail Awards (CRA).

“Our business will be in safe hands under the ownership of Gillett’s, who have great experience and a fine reputation for running Spar stores throughout the region,” said Chris.

Mark Gillett, managing director of Gillett’s, said: “We are delighted to have added these two new stores to our operation. In particular, the Helston store, with nearly 3,000sq ft of sales space, is one of the best run and largest Spar stores in the South West.”

Gillett’s recently signed a five-year exclusivity contract with Appleby Westward, Spar’s South West distributor.