Hundon celebrates award for shop

AN INNOVATIVE Suffolk village convenience store run for the people by the people is celebrating being voted the best local trader in East Anglia.

Russell Claydon

AN INNOVATIVE Suffolk village convenience store run for the people by the people is celebrating being voted the best local trader in East Anglia.

The not-for-profit store and post office in Hundon, near Haverhill, has been handed the prestigious title after experts from consumer website Which? said it “took local business to another level”.

Manned by 50 volunteers who each give up their time, some juggling the commitment with full time jobs, the shop is now being judged against nine others to find the best small trader in the country.

Margaret Blackwell, the chairperson of the Hundon Shop and Village Association, said they had been overwhelmed by the praise heaped upon them.

“I am surprised and thrilled because we did not actually know anyone had put our names forward,” she said.

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Asked what the secret of their success was, she said: “I think it is because we are a community shop which sells quite a wide range of things and a lot of them are locally sourced.

“Also we are a not-for-profit organisation. If there is any excess it goes into helping the village hall - it goes straight back into the community. We just keep enough to cover our costs.”

The accolade comes at a time when the community is gearing up to celebrate a decade of having their own sustainable village store.

Complaints about the lack of such a facility were met head on by residents determined to do something about it, and with the support of fellow households soon behind, the dream became a reality.

Pete Tynan, from Which? Local, said: “A recommendation from a satisfied customer is one of the best ways to find a reliable local trader, so the businesses that have been selected as best in their region should really benefit from this recognition.

“Hundon Village Shop wins this award for taking the phrase “local business” to another level, using an innovative approach to provide the village with easy access to a wide range of goods and delivering exemplary customer service.”

More than 29,000 recommendations were made by members for the Which? Local Business of the Year award, which recognises local traders that provide a great service or go the extra mile for their customers.

Hundon Village Shop now joins nine other regional winners on a shortlist for Which? Local Business of the Year, which will be awarded on June 9 at a ceremony at the British Museum.