Shop of the Year 2020 winners announced
On Monday 9 March, the Guild of Fine Food crowned the UK’s best independent retailers, as Shop of the Year 2020 reached its exciting finale. Established to recognise and promote excellence in independent retail, the rigorously judged accreditation scheme presented six trophies at Fodder Farm Shop and Café in Harrogate, where the world of fine food gathered to find out the winners of each category.
Following two rounds of judging, which included an announced visit from one of the expert judges and a mystery shop by customer experience specialists, Insight6, Bristol-based Papadeli won the Delicatessen & Grocer category, The Courtyard Dairy in North Yorkshire scooped best Specialist Cheese Shop and Norwich-based Jarrold was named winner of the Food Hall award. Representing the Midlands, Farndon Fields Farm Shop in Market Harborough took top honours in the Farm Shop category, while the trophy for Specialist Food or Drink Shop went to London-based Andreas of Chelsea Green. The Newcomer award was presented to Mezze, a Middle Eastern inspired specialist food and drink shop in Waterford, Ireland.
Visiting the finalists on the hunt for this year’s independent retail stars, the panel of judges found excellence in every corner of the UK before giving out the gongs. Championing and supporting the remaining independent farmhouses cheeses, The Courtyard Dairy demonstrated a “dedication to cheese with no compromise on sourcing” and the judges praised owner, Andy Swinscoe’s “sense of adventure” and ethos. Andreas of Chelsea Green, which opened in 1994, was also applauded for its “honesty, integrity and palpable passion”, while Papadeli charmed the judges with its “general ambience” and range of homemade cakes.
Provenance proved its worth for family-run business, Farndon Fields, a creative, vibrant and inspiring farm shop opened in 1985 by Kevin and Milly Stokes, which impressed with its range of quality local products, with Jarrold also receiving high praise for its own brand products created by local producers. Having been trading for less than two years, Mezze was commended for its “warmth” and the “passion” of owners Nicola and Dvir, as well as the diversity and quality of its offering, much of which is made on site.
From overall shopping experience and financial performance to staff training opportunities and environmental initiatives in place, the panel of judges, which includes Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, former managing director at Fortnum & Mason and senior buyer at Harrods, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and food writer, Patrick McGuigan, rated, scored and provided feedback on every aspect of the shops before agreeing on an overall category winner.
Shop of the Year 2020 winners and runners up
Delicatessen & Grocer sponsored by The Tracklement Company
181 Delicatessen, Edinburgh
Farm Shop (farmer owned) sponsored by Peter’s Yard
Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Market Harborough, Leicestershire
Robertshaw's Farm Shop, Bradford, West Yorkshire
Food Hall sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP
Jarrold, Norwich, Norfolk
The Barn at Severn & Wye, Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire
Specialist Cheese Shop sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP
The Courtyard Dairy, Austwick, North Yorkshire
The Pangbourne Cheese Shop, Reading, Berkshire
Specialist Food or Drink Shop sponsored by Le Gruyere AOP
Andreas of Chelsea Green, London
Latimer's Seafood, Whitburn, Tyne & Wear
Newcomer Award sponsored by Fine Food Digest
Mezze, Waterford, Ireland
Facts and figures about Shop of the Year 2020:
- Shop of the Year recognises and promotes excellence in independent retail
- Previously forming part of the Great Taste accreditation scheme, Shop of the Year is now a standalone accreditation, offering independent retailers a recognised stamp of approval from industry experts
- Shop of the Year is judged by a panel of experts with a proven track record of success in independent retail
- Insight6 provides valuable feedback, through the eyes of the customer, in an unannounced visit to each finalist
- There are five categories:
- Delicatessen & Grocer
- Specialist Cheese Shop
- Farm Shop (farmer owned)
- Food Hall
- Specialist Food or Drink Shop