Delifonseca and Keelham among Shop of the Year winners
Liverpool’s Delifonseca Dockside has taken a brace of titles in this year’s Shop of the Year awards, which celebrate the best in independent food retailing across the UK.
The store, opened by Candice Fonseca eight years ago, topped the Best Deli category and saw long-serving deli manager Clare Jones collect the inaugural Retail Hero award.
Three other well-established stores – Yorkshire’s Keelham Farm Shop, Lincoln’s The Cheese Society and Cheshire’s Godfrey C Williams – also took home trophies from the 2018 awards ceremony in London on September 20th, while Cotswolds start-up Fillet & Bone was named Best Newcomer.
Keelham, which has outlets in Skipton and Thornton, took the Best Farm Shop title for its Thornton outlet. The venerable Godfrey C Williams & Son in Sandbach – in business since 1875 – triumphed in the Best Grocer or Community Shop category.
Cheesemonger, café and online store The Cheese Society was named Best Specialist Cheese Shop.
Fillet & Bone, opened in Chipping Campden 18 months ago by Chris Gates and Pat Willins, was commended for “a treasure trove of delicious products, with a real sense of individuality” as well as the strength of its business plan.
Retail Hero winner Clare Jones joined Delifonseca when it moved its retail deli out of the city to a larger site by the Mersey in 2010. She began as a part-timer but quickly became integral to the business. With a 40-year track record in food, she is credited with creating a strong, stable team of knowledgeable staff and delivering an “excellent customer experience” while never losing sight of the bottom line.
This year’s Shop of the Year competition – organised by the Guild of Fine Food and sponsored by Le Gruyère AOP and Petty Wood – saw more categories covered than ever before, including garden centre food halls and community stores.
A beefed-up judging process saw secret visits to 42 shortlisted stores by mystery shopping specialist Insight6. Each shop was also visited and assessed by one of this year’s team of senior judges: ex Fortnum & Mason buyer Sam Rosen Nash, food hall veteran Stuart Gates (Fortnums, Daylesford Organics and Harrods), former Ludlow Food Centre MD Edward Berry, Academy of Cheese director Tracey Colley and cheese writer and tutor Patrick McGuigan.