This week I made the long trek to the NEC for the national Farm Shop & Deli Show and Awards, along with Oli our General Manager.

We were really pleased back in March to be shortlisted for the South West Retailer of the Year award but, after stalking our competition online, we realised it would be a tough one to win. But win we did – and we couldn’t be prouder.

These highly respected (and coveted) accolades play an essential role in shining a light on the UK’s independent food retailers across the UK, which is why I’ve been setting my sights on winning one for a while. Food retailing is a tough old business to be in, and it’s lovely to see the hard work of those who go the extra mile recognised.

This year, we knew the judges were particularly interested in the ways businesses like ours develop and retain their team and we believe our transition almost a year ago to employee-ownership played an important part in our win.

The change has shifted the balance here by empowering our team to help drive the business forward, and the way they have risen to that challenge has been brilliant. It’s wonderful then that they should be recognised in this way.

In presenting the award, broadcaster Nigel Barden also highlighted our local sourcing policy, which is of course the essence of what we do here.

That’s only possible because we have such an abundance of top quality produce on our doorstep in this beautiful county; and our 200 or so local suppliers do truly amazing things with it. We are so privileged to work with them.

Finally, of course, we would be nowhere without all our loyal customers, many of whom have been shopping here since the day we opened nearly seven years ago and are almost part of the furniture!

A massive thank you to everyone for helping us achieve this win. We really do appreciate everything you do.