A village shop has been placed on an elite list of the best independent retailers in the country just 18 months after opening.
Mace in Main Street, Whissendine, has made it on to the Independent Achievers Academy’s list of the top 100 independent shops in the UK and Ireland, much to the delight of owner Ram Odedra, pictured.
The store was converted from a former restaurant 18 months ago and now offers food, drinks and everyday items, using local producers where possible, as well as a hairdressing business on the premises.
The Independent Achievers Academy is a business development and recognition programme for independent retailers, and rewards outstanding achievements in the sector.
The judging process for the list included a mystery shopper visit and an interview with the judges. The award was given based on the shop’s layout, the products it sells and its work within the community.
Owner Ram said he was “over the moon” with the news.
He said: “I was really really chuffed and completely over the moon. I’m so proud of the achievement and the certificate now takes pride of place in the shop window.
“It really is down to the support of the community that it’s done so well since opening.
“I think what sets us apart from other shops is the range we offer and that our service comes from the heart. We make sure we say hello to everyone who enters the store and make them feel welcome.
“I must thank the other members of staff for all their help too.”
The shop sells local produce from the likes of Rutland Preserves, Hambleton Bakery and Grasmere Farm.
The store is also currently raising money for the sports hall in Whissendine and charity Rainbows Children’s Hospice.
On November 17, it is hosting a Bollywood night in the village hall to raise funds.
Ram added: “I’m now motivated to do more.
“It feels great to be part of the community and although we’re in tough times, it’s nice that we have the support of the village behind us.”