Former Forecourt Trader of the Year winner Parkfoot Garage was crowned Convenience Retailer of the Year 2014 at last night’s Convenience Retail Awards, organised by trade magazines Convenience Store and The Grocer.

The national competition celebrates the very best convenience stores that the UK has to offer in terms of business achievement, product range, customer service, and community interaction.

Spar Parkfoot, on the A20 in West Malling Kent, owned by David and Anne Charman, was the first winner at the inaugural Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards in 1996. Since then the store has been through several evolutions, including most recently a £250,000 refit in 2013 following radical work to shift tonnes of rock from behind the site, enabling the store to be extended from 1,500sq ft to 2,950sq ft. The redevelopment boosted sales by 60% and led to further awards including Best Forecourt Retailer in London and the South East last year.

The 24-hour BP forecourt’s shop offer includes a wide range of chilled foods, extensive produce section, groceries, impulse and an off licence.

The store also boasts a locally-supplied delicatessen, a butchery staffed by two full-time butchers, a made-to-order sandwich counter and an organic and vegetarian selection. Only the highest-quality fresh produce from premium suppliers and the local area are selected, bread is imported from France and customers can fill their own olive oil canisters from in-store units

Through major investment and commitment to the highest retailing standards, Spar Parkfoot has shattered the perception of garage forecourt stores as a simple petrol top-up and snack stop. It was the store’s dedication to top quality produce, great service and energy efficiency that won over the judges of the Convenience Retail Awards.

In addition to the overall award, Spar Parkfoot also picked up the title of Best Independent Store and Best Chilled Retailer.

David was over the moon to have scooped the top prize: “I’m delighted to be recognised as a true convenience store as opposed to a forecourt with a shop. Forecourt shops have really come of age and can challenge the small multiple express format.

"A lot of credit goes to Spar for their support with the store but really it’s all about the staff. They’re there round the clock making the store as good as it is. This award is for them and all the hard work they do on a constant basis.”

David Rees, editor of Convenience Store, commented:

“David and Ann took a huge risk investing in the store and have made a tremendous commitment to quality with their in-store butchery, outstanding range of fresh produce, and delicious specialist and local produce. Their vision has paid off with an outstanding local convenience store, which thoroughly deserves the accolade of being named the best of its type in the country.”