A WALTHAMSTOW convenience store which “works in harmony with the community” has been crowned the best shop of its kind in the country.

The Village Stores Spar in Orford Road was also named as the best independent store at the prestigious Convenience Retail awards in central London Organised by trade magazines, The Grocer and Convenience Store, the awards recognise the very best retailers.

The winning shop, which is owned by three brothers and a friend, doubled in size following a refurbishment two years ago.

It includes an in-house bakery and pizzeria, which provides fresh food and ready meals everyday.

Co-owner James Brundle, said: “Last year we were runners-up for best independent store so we were hoping to win it this year.

“But we never thought we would win the overall best convenience store. It was completely unexpected.

“We think we won because we try as much as we can to do things differently to other shops.

“We try to find out what our customers would like. We visit other bakers and pizzerias to see how we can do things better.

“We also get a lot of our products from local suppliers.

“We have really worked hard to make sure our business does well and it is really good to be recognised for that.

“Hopefully our customers get a much better experience and we get to help other small businesses, especially in these times when small businesses are suffering.”

Mr Brundle and his two step brothers, Dan and Chris O’Connor, started the shop about five years ago after they left their jobs - and were later joined by friend, Siobhan O’Donnel.

The store, which picked up the award last Thursday (March 31) also stocks more than 1,000 beers and ales from around the world.

Convenience Store editor David Rees said: “The Village Store is the ultimate example of a store trading in harmony with its local community by offering major brands alongside delicious niche products and home-made fresh breads and high quality pizzas prepared to order.

“What is even more impressive is that the shop is able to offer so much variety within a limited space.

“It really is a convenience store with a difference and is completely deserving of this major national accolade.”

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