The owners of a forecourt shop in Leicester have been presented with a top award at Bestway Wholesale’s annual Retail Development Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London.

Last year Kalpesh and Meeta Raja, who run the shop at Parker Drive Service Station in Beaumont Leys, won the category award for beer and cider, but this year they won the prize for the best store in the entire northern region, scooping a trophy and £2,000 in Bestway vouchers.

Meeta said the couple had introduced a lot of improvements since last year. “Each year Bestway organises seminars for retailers and we’ve really taken on board what was said,” she explained.

Coca-Cola rearranged the store’s chilled drinks with new planograms and fridges where drinks automatically move forward to replenish as bottles or cans are taken out, and a complete overhaul of the confectionery section was carried out with help from Mars Confectionery.

Meeta said: “This year sales have vastly gone up even though an Asda store has opened nearby. It hasn’t really affected us at all. It’s really nice to win this recognition for our store, but it’s also nice for our customers because I think they feel part of it too.”

Speaking at the awards, Bestway’s group chief executive, Zameer Choudrey, said: “To be a successful wholesaler and a valued supplier to our customers, we have to ‘think outside the outer’. Wholesale is no longer just about shifting boxes. It‘s about being collaborative and developing partnerships at customer level. Driving up store standards is critical to the development of the independent channel as we strive to help our customers compete in the increasingly challenging convenience sector. Investing in them and helping their businesses grow matters a great deal to us and that is why the Retail Development Awards are so important to us as a company.

“We are here to reward the successes of those individuals who have provided outstanding service and support to their local communities in the past twelve months. We must also recognise the hard work of the hundreds of retailers who will not be rewarded here tonight but who have made giant strides in developing their own businesses through their attendance at the RDA Seminars.”