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Family Firm’s Double Success At Retail Industry Awards

SPAR Parkfoot and Eat 17 SPAR Walthamstow are celebrating after being crowned winners at the 2020 Retail Industry Awards.

SPAR Parkfoot in Kent, which is owned by retailer David Charman, won the title of Independent Forecourt Retailer of the Year less than two weeks after scooping the prize for Best Forecourt Innovation at the Forecourt Trader Awards.

Meanwhile, Eat 17 SPAR Walthamstow picked up the title of Independent Retailer of the Year in the 3,000 to 6,000sq ft category. The London-based Eat 17 chain is co-owned by James Brundle, Chris O’Connor and A.F. Blakemore.

The Retail Industry Awards, which took place virtually on 26th January, celebrated the success of the whole retail sector, from small independent stores to larger supermarket and convenience retailers.

Judges praised SPAR Parkfoot for its consistently high standards. The store offers a wide range of services including a butcher’s counter, hot food to go, freshly squeezed orange juice and freshly brewed coffee.

Improvements during the year included the addition of a Smokin’ Bean coffee bar with a seating area that increased coffee sales by more than 100%.

Its meal-for-tonight offer was revitalised with the addition of SPAR’s Tonight’s Tea solutions, including premium ready meals, while the store also boasts eight freezers from frozen specialist Cook.

Butchery sales increased by 20% during the period, as did food to go, which includes pizzas, hot pasta, handmade sandwiches and roast dinners. Customer numbers and sales both continued to rise during the year as David invested more than £100,000 in updating the business.

One judge commented: “David and his team continue to set the benchmark for roadside retailing. Despite winning multiple awards, the management team haven’t rested on their laurels and have continued to invest in the business. Their commitment to their customers, staff and ensuring the business is continually improving is exemplary.”

Other judges praised the retailer’s community engagement, staff training, use of digital marketing and excellent store layout, while one concluded: “I have judged many times over the years, but this is the only 100% I have ever given.”

“For me, David and his team are ticking every single box, and his customers obviously agree, going by the sales figures. Parkfoot continues to evolve and improve, which is testimony to the work put in by David and his team. Absolutely brilliant!”

Eat 17 Walthamstow came out on top in its category thanks to its fantastic in-store execution and a continuing focus on retail innovation.

Store owner James Brundle has massively increased the Eat 17 own-brand range, as well as its comprehensive selection of local products. The on-trend store offers a mix of premium, local and value products, as well as a huge refillables section.

Its home delivery service has gone from strength to strength and the business is even baking its own sourdough bread.

“This is a fantastic store driven by a passionate and innovative team who were early adopters of a number of different things,” said one judge. “They have always been very forward-thinking. It’s not something that could be replicated everywhere, but they have done an amazing job in utilising what they have got. It’s a great store, doing some great stuff – a real London foodie haven.”

Panel members praised the “huge fresh range” and high standards set throughout the store. The off-licence section was said to be “tremendous” and the business was always moving forward.

“James is constantly trying to reinvent the store and do things better,” said a judge. “It’s another great example of matching the proposition to the customer and it stands out because he’s pushing the boundaries of his particular space. Eat 17 are great retailers and they are stretching the boundaries in so many ways.”

At the awards event, SPAR Calver, Eat 17 Bishop’s Stortford and Blakemore Retail’s Brunswick Road store were also highly commended.

The Meridian & Welsh Guild’s full list of winners and highly commended stores is as follows:

Winners
Forecourt Retailer of the Year (Independent)
SPAR Parkfoot, West Malling, Kent

Independent Retailer of the Year (3,000 to 6,000sq ft)
SPAR Eat 17, Walthamstow, London

Highly Commended
Drinks Retailer of the Year (Independent)
SPAR Calver, Hope Valley, Derbyshire

Food-to-go Retailer of the Year (Independent)
SPAR Eat 17, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire

Fresh Produce Retailer of the Year (Independent)
SPAR Calver, Hope Valley, Derbyshire

Post Office Retailer of the Year
SPAR Brunswick Road & Post Office, Buckley, Flintshire

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