The best shops in the UK and Ireland recognised at the IAA Gala Dinner

Last week, the Independent Achievers Academy (IAA) named its 12 category stars for 2022 at its Gala Dinner in Birmingham.

It was the first time the event has been held in person since 2019, due to Covid-19.

The Gala Dinner recognises the achievements of independent news and convenience retailers across the UK and Ireland, who are excelling in the core principles of retailing.

Vince and Fiona Malone, of Tenby Stores & Post Office in Pembrokeshire, won for Customer Service and were also named Overall Best Shop.

For customer service, the couple have increased staff knowledge on their products, launched a WhatsApp group and changed the shop’s front door.

Speaking about how investing in staff training improved customer service across the store, Vince Malone said: “We took a bold step in looking at what we were doing wrong, and realised that, quite often, when we do something wrong, we won’t admit it. We’ve turned this on its head and encouraged an open and transparent ethos.

“This has allowed us to talk about mistakes, improve on them and make it work.”

H, Jodie and the Singh Family were recognised for Marketing to Customers at H & Jodie’s Nisa in Walsall, West Midlands.

The team prioritised growing its social media presence over the past year, particularly on Facebook, set up an own-branded app and invested more than £30,000 on events for the community, helped by two new junior professionals.

Kirti Patel, of Londis Ferme Park Road in London, was acknowledged for Effective Ranging, who demonstrated in-depth analysis of EPoS data to see what products are selling, leading to delisting slow ones and multifacing bestsellers.

Steve Bassett, of Bassett’s Londis Abbotsbury Road in Weymouth, Dorset, was category star for both Availability and Shop Layout.

Enya McAteer, of Mulkerns Spar in Jonesborough, County Armagh, was recognised for Merchandising & Display, most notably for her instore theatre.

Elsewhere, Jeyaseelan Thambirajah, from Budgens of Hinchingbrooke in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, took home Responsible Retailing; Sunita Kanji, of Family Shopper – Little Hulton in Manchester, came out on top for Staff Development; Trudy Davies, of Woosnam & Davies News in Llanidloes, Powys, picked up Service to the Community; Bart Dalla-Mura, of Tysoe Village Stores in Warwick, Warwickshire, picked up Environmental Sustainability; and Atul Sodha, owner of Londis Harefield in Uxbridge, west London, was recognised for Innovation.

Lastly, Asiyah and Jawad Javed, of Day-Today Alloa Road in Stenhousemuir, Falkirk, were named the IAA’s Rising Star.

The pair operate a cheesecake business from their store, and its dedicated Facebook page has 48,000 followers, with people travelling from across the UK to make a purchase.

Hear from the IAA22 Category Stars about what being recognised means to them

IAA 2021-22 Category Stars

Click the category links below to find out more on why the retailers were recognised and take some tips away to implement in your own store

Marketing to Customers

H, Jodie & The Singh Family
H & Jodie’s Nisa, Walsall

Customer Service

Vince Malone
Tenby Stores & Post Office, Tenby

Effective Ranging

Kirti Patel
Londis Ferme Park Road, London


Steve Bassett
Bassett’s Londis Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth

Shop Layout

Steve Bassett
Bassett’s Londis Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth

Merchandising & Display

Enya McAteer
Mulkerns Spar, Jonesborough

Responsible Retailing

Jeyaseelan Thambirajah
Budgens of Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon

Staff Development

Sunita Kanji
Family Shopper – Little Hulton, Manchester

Service to the Community

Trudy Davies
Woosnam & Davies News, Llanidloes

Environmental Sustainability

Bart Dalla-Mura
Tysoe Village Stores, Warwick


Atul Sodha
Londis Harefield, Uxbridge

Rising Star

Asiyah & Jawad Javed
Day-Today Alloa Road, Stenhousemuir

Register your interest for 2022/23!