Posted: 25/07/2019

Want to be a Shop of the Year winner? – July’s top tips

Feedback from our expert judges reveals those retail details where crucial points are won and lost

Happy to talk

A shop’s atmosphere comes mainly from the people behind the counter, and starts with its owners – like a very smiley Clare Jackson of Slate in Suffolk, pictured here. Laughter’s infectious – but so is glumness. If your staff tend to look more harried than happy, ask yourself why.

Cull the dull

Avoid ‘safe’. Stand back and look at your shop and see how you can introduce some ‘wow’, whether that means breaking open a whole gorgonzola for scooping, or mixing unusual non-food gifts or kitchenware in with your food displays. In the warmer months, try cooking a big paella outside on a gas burner ahead of lunchtime to add a summery ‘street food’ vibe.

Prop it up

Punchy displays don’t have to cost a fortune. Look around your own home for props that will help create a themed feature or scour secondhand shops for cheap bits of old kitchenware, boxes and baskets. And don’t be afraid to ask suppliers if they have suitable accessories to give your merchandising a lift. We’re smitten by this giant teacup, used as the centrepiece for a tea and biscuits feature at our local Udder Farm Shop.

Compiled from feedback by retail experts and Insight6 mystery shoppers on visits to shortlisted stores in the Guild of Fine Food’s Shop of the Year competition. Visit for details.

This story appeared in the July issue of Fine Food Digest. You can read more on the digital edition here.

Read more of the latest news from Fine Food Digest here

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