An independent store in St Boswells has booked its place among retail’s elite after being named Britain’s best small shop 2018 at an event in the Houses of Parliament today.
Mainstreet Trading Company’s combined bookshop and cafe was crowned the winner of the non-industry specific award after 25 retailers from a range of sectors were shortlisted last month.
The shop, which this year celebrates its 10th year in business, has been the author of its own success thanks to a range over innovations introduced over the last decade.
It added a deli and home section in 2012, expanding its customer base, as well as making the unique book shop a must-visit for kids.
Popular additions include the ‘A Year of Books’ subscription service; two book burrows – ‘dens’ in which children’s audio books are played; and the Love Your Indie book loyalty card.
Rosamund de la Hey, who runs Mainstreet Trading with husband Bill, said the accolade was the cherry on the cake of a wonderful year.
“It’s amazing and unexpected to win the Best Small Shops competition having been shortlisted alongside an incredible array of fantastic independents from so many different sectors,” she said.
“We’ve been celebrating our 10th birthday this year so winning the best small shops competition truly is the cherry on the cake for us.
“We wouldn’t have been able to win this award without our team and it’s an equally important achievement for them.”
The competition, managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s high streets and the central role they play in their local communities.
There were two joint runners-up in this year’s competition: Hopes of Longtown, an independent village store in Longtown, near Hereford, and Longwell Records in Bristol, which opened in April 2016.
Also recognised on the competition’s shortlist were three other indie bookshops: Drake The Bookshop in Stockton, which was highly commended, Forum Books in Northumberland, and Kenilworth Books in Warwickshire.
“I’m particularly pleased to be recognised with three fellow booksellers,” Rosamund added. “We’re mutually supportive of each other, and it’s great that overall, a bookshop is the winner.”
Mark Walmsley, chairman of the Independent Retailers Confederation, said: “In this year’s best small shops competition, we have been able to celebrate the diversity, choice and quality of specialist independent retailers around the country and the contribution that they make to their local communities.
“We hope that in the run-up to Christmas it helps shine a light on some of the gems of our high streets and town centres and encourage more people to explore the independents in their areas.”
Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont, who was at today’s event, said: “This is a hugely well-deserved award for Rosamund and Bill who have worked tirelessly over the past 10 years to make Mainstreet Trading such a success.
“It’s also a great reflection on the Scottish Borders that we now have the best small shop in the UK, a point I shall make sure I keep repeating at every opportunity.”