Observatory the Opticians in Beccles named as one of Britain’s top 20 small shops

The Beccles team from Observatory the Opticians collecting the Independent Practice of the Year Awar

The Beccles team from Observatory the Opticians collecting the Independent Practice of the Year Award in 2014. - Credit: Archant

An award-winning Suffolk opticians business is in the running for another prestigious accolade.

Observatory the Opticians in Beccles has been named as a finalist in the national Best Small Shops Competition, run by the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group (APPSSG) and the Independent Retailers Confederation.

It aims to recognise creative and innovative businesses which are committed to making their local high street a better place.

Observatory, based in Exchange Square, is one of only 20 finalists to be selected out of several hundred applicants, with the winner to be named at a reception in Westminster on February 25.

Jacqui Sayer, practice manager, said: “We are absolutely thrilled and very proud to be named as one of the top 20 best small shops in the country.

“It is a wonderful achievement and comes straight off the back of our success last year when we were named Independent Practice of the Year at the national Optician Awards, where we beat big city rivals.

“To achieve such prestigious accolades is testament to our professional approach, skilled staff and focus on customer care. We are now looking forward to representing the company at the final in Westminster and keeping our fingers crossed that we win.”

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Simon Danzuck, chairman of the APPSSG, said: “Small shops really are the backbone of Britain, providing essential services for local people and creating jobs in their communities.

“I think it is right that Parliament acknowledges the vital role small shops play and seeks to recognise and reward the very best small shops across the country. I congratulate all the shortlisted businesses and thank all the retailers who took the time to showcase their shops.”

The latest accolade comes at a very successful time for the firm which also has practices in Southwold and Ipswich in Suffolk, Leigh-on-Sea in Essex and its flagship practice in Muswell Hill, London, and other branches operating under the name Wardale Williams in Sudbury, Haverhill and Halstead.

The company’s optometrist Will Norman has been named as a finalist in the Optometrist of the Year category at the annual Optician Awards.

And the practice at Muswell Hill has also been shortlisted for the Fashion Practice of the Year and the Window Display of the Year categories of the annual Optician Awards. The winners are set to be announced at a ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on April 18.