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Worcester home and gift shop named as Britain's Best Small Shop of 2020

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

CornucopiaA family run, independent, home and gift shop in Worcester has been named as Britain's Best Small Shop of 2020.

Cornucopia, whose ethos is all about quality and individuality, stocks both iconic British brands such as Emma Bridgewater, Plum & Ashby and Repeat Repeat as well as products with a Danish influence that originated with the business founders, including luxury brands Dansk Smykkekunst, Bahne, Cozy Living and Broste Copenhagen. During lockdown it opened a Trouva boutique online with owners Clare and Hannah Bishop taking products home from the shop and turning their garage into a distribution centre. This enabled them to focus on distributing products to customers all over the world as well as giving them the confidence and incentive to open their own online shop.

Clare Bishop, who owns Cornucopia with her daughter Hannah, says:

"We both felt so humbled and honoured to have been shortlisted for this award. We had a peak at some of the other shortlisted shops and just felt so privileged to have been placed amongst them. But to then find out we had won was just amazing. We really couldn't have achieved this without our customers. It's just incredible.

We just feel that customers really want a physical shop to come into. We like to display in a way that gives the customer an idea of what they could recreate at home. We have a tremendous team to help support us within the shop otherwise it just wouldn't look the way it does. It involves lots of hard work but it's really enjoyable and worthwhile."

The Best Small Shops competition is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), whose member trade associations represent approximately 100,000 independent retailers throughout the UK between them. The competition celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK's High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities. It is sponsored by Maybe*, an engagement platform that helps make social media work for independent retailers.

In their comments about Cornucopia, the judges said that they "loved their resilient approach combined with their community spirit. They are very active on social media and support other local and independent businesses and the wider community. They are active in initiatives that help drive footfall and are BID members. They understand that every place is the sum of its physical and digital parts."

They commented that they really liked the efforts they went to maintain trading and open up new revenue streams during lockdown.

"Cornucopia is an innovation business that clearly worked hard during COVID19 to ensure the business both survived and thrived post-lockdown, activity engaging with the local business community and local people to benefit of the business."

Two runners-up were also named this year: AG Hendy, a homeware shop in Hastings, which offers practical plastic free, eco-friendly goods for the home, and Nourish of Topsham, an ethical, packaging-free, zero waste provisions shop in Topsham, near Exeter.

A special award was also made this year for the independent shop that had displayed most innovation during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was awarded jointly to Small Stuff UK, a children's shop in Sheffield, which specialises in ethical and eco-conscious lifestyle products and clothing for small children, and Grace's Bakery, a three generation family bakery in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. This award was sponsored by booost, the loyalty, gifting and promotions app.

In their comments about Small Stuff, the judges said that the shop's use of Zoom for gift purchasing was "a brilliant idea during these difficult times, and definitely something other businesses can implement for continuing sales and reaching out to new customers." The judges recognised the way the shop had used its voice across social platforms to promote local shopping in the area. "This is always a great way to encourage more businesses to spread the word about who they are and where they are," the judges added.

Owner Hellen Stirling-Baker says:

"It's absolutely fantastic. It's a wonderful competition that highlights so many incredible businesses that I looked at and thought, wow, look at the amazing things they're doing. The award couldn't have come at a better time, given everything we have had to deal with with Covid. It just drives me more and more to continue what we are doing and push forward with this independent business that I have grown."

The judges commended Grace's Bakery for bagging flour so that other local shops and supermarkets were kept stocked, calling it "very community orientated". The judges were impressed by their ability to quickly set up a brand new website and online shop to begin delivering Island-wide for free, achieving very large numbers and again helping out the community in difficult times. They said that Grace's Bakery was "a great example of an independent retailer being at the heart of its local community - not just the quality of the products or the commitment to serve the community in unusual times, but the imagination with which it has done so and its determination are really admirable."

Marketing Manager Sarah Redrup, who is also the daughter of the owners Carole and Ray Redrup, says:

"I think this year of all years it feels really good to be recognised nationwide for our efforts during this time, and especially being the only shop on the Isle of Wight to be shortlisted. But to win is absolutely amazing. It's been a really difficult year and this really means a lot."

 

Read more about all five award winning shops and watch their videos at bestsmallshops.uk.


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