Public wants to see a vibrant independent sector, and this year's winners prove it is not doomed says Stuart Rose Quencher dazzles judges with hi-tech service A convenience store that has successfully combined traditional retailing skills with some hi-tech wizardry won the top prize in this year's Booker Prize for Excellence awards. The judges said that Quencher in Bradford ­ run by Sub and Neelan Budwal ­ showed there were no limits to excellence. As well as making best use of their EPoS system to keep a close eye on prices and to control stock, the Budwals use technology to promote to customers via monitors in the store. And they are looking at how they can exploit the internet to sell gift packs. But the judges were just as impressed by the emphasis the Budwals place on giving shoppers the highest possible levels of service. The store's impressive wine selection also caught their eye. As well as being named best retailer, Quencher won the category for best c-store. The other winners were: Central Avenue Service Station in Nuneaton, which was named best forecourt shop; Natsons News in Barnes, which won the category for best CTN; Rainhall Food & Drink in Barnoldswick, which was voted the best off licence; Oakwood Superstore in Derby, which was named best young business; and the Happy Shopper in St Clears, which won the category for best neighbourhood store. The category winners received cheques for £1,000 and will be going on study tours to New York. As overall retail winner, the Budwals won £5,000. Booker chief executive Stuart Rose said the public wanted to see a vibrant independent sector, and claimed the winners of this year's awards demonstrated that the sector was not doomed ­ despite all the gloomy forecasts that the multiples would inherit the earth. The awards also recognised the best in catering. Rose said catering would play a major part in Booker's future. And he pledged that the cash and carry group would continue to invest in improving its ranges, revamping its depots and raising service levels ­ as well as investing in e-commerce. {{NEWS }}