Gift store named Britain’s best small shop

A family run home and gift shop which managed to grow during Lockdown has been named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020.

Cornucopia, which stocks both iconic British brands such as Emma Bridgewater and Plum & Ashby as well alongside those with a Danish influence had to close last summer at Worcester went into Lockdon with the rest of the country.

But it opened a Trouva boutique online with mother and daughter Clare and Hannah Bishop taking products home and turning their garage into a distribution centre, sending them to customers all over the world.

Clare said: “We both felt so humbled to have been shortlisted. We had a peek at some of the others and felt so privileged to have been placed amongst them. But to then find out we had won was just amazing.

“We just feel that customers really want a physical shop to come into. We like to display in a way that gives the customer an idea of what they could recreate at home. We have a tremendous team to help support us within the shop otherwise it just wouldn’t look the way it does. It involves lots of hard work but it’s really enjoyable.”

They are active in initiatives that help drive footfall. They understand that every place is the sum of its physical and digital parts

The Best Small Shops competition is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation, whose member trade associations represent around 100,000 UK businesses between them.

The judges said of Cornucopia that they “loved their resilient approach combined with their community spirit. They are very active on social media and support other local and independent businesses and the wider community. They are active in initiatives that help drive footfall and are BID members. They understand that every place is the sum of its physical and digital parts.

“Cornucopia is an innovation business that clearly worked hard during COVID19 to ensure the business both survived and thrived post-lockdown, activity engaging with the local business community and local people to benefit of the business.”

Two runners-up were AG Hendy, a homeware shop in Hastings, which offers eco-friendly goods for the home, and Nourish, an ethical, packaging-free, zero waste provisions shop in Topsham, near Exeter.

A special award was also made for the independent shop that had displayed most innovation during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was awarded jointly to Small Stuff UK, a children’s shop in Sheffield and Grace’s Bakery, a family firm in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

Judges said that Small Stuff’s use of Zoom for gift purchasing was “a brilliant idea during these difficult times, and definitely something other businesses can implement for continuing sales and reaching out to new customers”.

Owner Hellen Stirling-Baker said: “The award couldn’t have come at a better time, given everything we have had to deal with with Covid. It just drives me more and more to continue what we are doing and push forward with this independent business that I have grown.”

The judges commended Grace’s Bakery for bagging flour so that other local shops and supermarkets were kept stocked, calling it “very community orientated”.