A Nisa Local store in Bedfordshire beat off competition from 300 stores to receive a highly commended award in a Best Small Shop 2015 competition.

The symbol group store in Toddington was on just three retailers received a prize out of the 20 finalists and of the 300 initial small businesses that applied to the competition run by the All-part Parliamentary Small Shops Group. Store Manager for the winning c-store, Gary Bilbrough, received the award yesterday at the Houses of Commons.Best Small Shop

A manager of the store for more than eight years, he described the event as incomparable to any other awards ceremony he has been to, because they were competing
against retailers from different sectors. He said: “It was an unusual feeling, but it was nice because of the variety of people that were there. I didn’t expect to be competing against a bike shop, but I was able to learn a lot from the other industries.”

In speeches made at the ceremony organised by the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group, the Nisa store was praised for its community work and customer service, including its contributions to the local parish council and the free Christmas party Bilbrough organises for over 100 elderly residents.

“We try and welcome everyone like it’s our front room,” he added. “We see our customers on a daily basis and often they just want to come in for a chat. The award doesn’t belong to me, but it’s a whole team effort.”

The applications were judged on their entrepreneurial activities, working with the community and innovation in their business.