Last year’s top farm retail businesses announced at FRA awards ceremony
The winners of this year’s Farm Retail Awards have been announced, with the West Country boasting many of the successful businesses.
The FRA’s celebration of rural retail excellence returned to an in-person ceremony at the Hilton Gateshead in Newcastle.
Among the winners was wholesaler and distributor Cotswold Fayre’s first foray into retailing, Flourish Foodhall & Kitchen, which picked up the Rising Star of the Year trophy after being open for just eight months, beating off competition from Lawn Farm Shop in Wiltshire. The food hall, based in Saltford, near Bath, opened in June 2021 and has a strong focus on sustainability and ethical business.
Flourish impressed the judges with its focus on attention to detail and retail layout, stating that staff had created an environment that their customers love.
Also among the winners was The Lambing Shed in Knutsford, Cheshire, which picked up the award for Café/Restaurant of the Year, with the judges noting the high quality of food and service. The panel also hailed its café as a “superb example of a business which understands its customer profile and then delivers a range of food and service to meet its customer’s needs”.
The Cheshire business pipped Nottinghamshire’s The Harley Café (Welbeck Farm Shop) and Bath’s Newton Farm Foods to the foodservice gong, but the latter did not return to Somerset empty handed.
The Newton St Loe retailer was handed the Small Farm Shop of the Year award after wowing judges with its impressive displays and high level of customer service as well as its focus on local products.
This year’s winner of the Large Farm Shop of the Year was praised for its ‘wow factor’. The judges felt Darts Farm, in Topsham, Devon, was a true “destination”, offering a large range of produce without losing its focus or customer perception.
Two consultancies – Malcolm Scott Consultants and The Flying Fork – picked up joint honours in the Supplier of the Year category, as judges praised both businesses for their enthusiasm, helpfulness and knowledge, and commenting that both would be a good choice for budding businesses.
Meanwhile, owner of Farndon Fields in Market Harborough, Kevin Stokes was handed the FRA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.