Hot on the heels of being crowned winner of The Greats 2020 Best Display category last month, gift and home store Cornucopia, based in Worcester, has been shortlisted in Britain’s Best Small Shop competition which celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK high streets and the central role they play in their local communities.
During lockdown, co-owners Clare Bishop and her daughter Hannah opened an online Trouva boutique, turning their garage into a distribution centre to enable them to distribute products worldwide, and also launched their own online shop.
“This is so exciting for us and a real boost in these uncertain times as we launch our Christmas collection online and in store,” Hannah told GiftsandHome.net. “Independent retailers are the heart of the high street and it’s great for us to be recognised in this way.”
In addition, a second gift and home shop, Ruby and the Angel, based in Debenham, near Stowmarket, has been shortlisted in two categories. The shops sources from suppliers who work with charities, and offers eco-friendly, recycled and fairtrade products.
Owner Tammy King has also been involved in helping to organise events with neighbouring businesses, to include fashion shows, menopause workshops, style evenings and gin tastings. The shop also opened a concession in a local community gym to promote awareness.
As well as being shortlisted for the main award, Ruby and the Angel has also been shortlisted for a special award to be given to the independent retailer that has demonstrated specific innovation to combat the impact of Covid-19.
During lockdown, the shop utilised its website to offer free postage, free local deliveries and helped the elderly and vulnerable, with weekly window displays that made people smile. Tammy also sourced new stock for the website, ran competitions, and delivered face masks to customers, donating a percentage of the income to NHS charities.
Mark Walmsley, chair of the Independent Retailers (IRC) commented: “This has been a particularly challenging year for small, independent retailers to have come through to this point, through innovation, quality of product and service, a commitment to serve their local communities and a large dose of determination.”
He continued: “As more and more people have been forced to stay home and work from home, we have seen just how much we all value local independent shops and want to see them not just survive but also thrive. These shops offer choice, diversity and genuine customer service, and, after what has been a rather dark year, that has to be worth celebrating.”
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, to include the Greeting Card Association (GCA) and the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).
Top: Cornucopia’s owner Clare Bishop (centre) is shown proudly holding The Greats Awards 2020 winner’s certificate.