It’s been a difficult 18 months for convenience stores. From surging demand and ever-changing social distancing rules to stock shortages and staff sickness, they’ve been faced with many of the same challenges as supermarkets through Brexit and Covid-19, with a fraction of the resources.
But as always, they’ve done a brilliant job at providing for local communities, keeping shelves stocked and customers happy. They’ve also delivered impressive growth, with the convenience market up 6.3% in 2020.
Across the country, there are lots of businesses and individuals who deserve some recognition for their hard work and innovation. Which is what The Convenience Awards 2021, which took place at the Londoner Hotel last night, was all about.
Take H & Jodie’s Nisa Local in Walsall, which was named Community Retailer of the Year. Not only did the team work to help source and donate PPE equipment, but they opened up space at the store for a vaccination centre.
Spar Parkfoot in Kent, which took the top prize of Convenience Retailer of the Year, also worked hard to help its community during the pandemic – introducing a home delivery service to get food to people who weren’t able to visit the shop.
The awards weren’t all about the industry’s efforts during the pandemic, though. They also celebrated the innovation and energy seen across the sector. Spar Parkfoot owner David Charman and his team are “constantly innovating and investing in the store, placing the customer at the very heart of every decision they make”, said ConvenienceStore.co.uk editor Aidan Fortune.
Mulkerns Eurospar in County Down, meanwhile, was named Food to Go Store of the Year for its impressive variety and quality of options, which include afternoon tea and fish & chips. As one judge said, this is food to go at its best.
Convenience stores are also making great moves on sustainability. Mulkerns Eurospar wasnamed Sustainability Retailer of the Year for its impressive strategy on this front, which includes local sourcing, refillable products and food waste management, as well as engagement with local schools.
There were plenty more winners on the night, whose achievements and accolades you can read about in full at ConvenienceStore.co.uk. And each of the awards was highly contested this year, reflecting the high standards across the sector.
“Our judging panel had an extremely tough job deciding on the finalists and winners,” Fortune added. “Even with everything that retailers have had to face over the past 18 months, they have displayed fantastic resilience and a willingness to take their businesses to the next level.”
All in all, last night was testament to the entire sector, which should be very proud of the important work it has done, and is continuing to do, in serving Britain’s local communities.