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LONDON -- Two SPAR locations have been recognized with top honors for their excellence in the convenience store industry by trade publications Convenience Store and The Grocer.
The Villages Store in Walthamstow Village, which trades under the SPAR fascia, earned the title of Convenience Retailer of the Year at the Convenience Retail Awards. Earlier in the evening, the store was named the Best Independent Convenience Store.
The store scored high points with the judges for its high retail standards and genuine points of difference, including an in-store pizzeria. "The Village Store is the ultimate example of a store trading in harmony with its local community by offering major brands alongside delicious niche products and home-made fresh breads and high-quality pizzas prepared to order," explained Convenience Store editor David Rees. "What is even more impressive is that the shop is able to offer so much variety within a limited space. It really is a convenience store with a difference and is completely deserving of this major national accolade."
The Village Store was not the only store flying the SPAR flag that received awards at the ceremony. SPAR Pike Hill in Burnley was named Best Multiple Store of the Year. In addition, the store received the Zero Tolerance Award for all its work for crime prevention.
In declaring the site the winner, judges noted the store's high standards and great product range, particularly in impulse items, hot food to go -- including a range of healthy options -- and walk-in beer and wine chiller. The SPAR Pike Hill has even seen sales rise year on year despite the opening of a new Tesco nearby.
The judges were also impressed by the store team's active engagement with the community and partnership working with the local authorities and other agencies, particularly through the BEAT IT initiative. As a result of the store team's hard work and dedication, the problem of youths hanging round outside the store and other forms of anti-social behavior have virtually been eliminated, according to a company press release.
"The team at SPAR Pike Hill have shown exactly how enthusiasm, dedication and a clear focus on customer needs can turn a good store into a great store, to the benefit of everyone living in the local community," Rees explained.