Church Street Stores announced as a regional winner in the Countryside Alliance Awards

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Wednesday 14th July 2021 5:24 am
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Clare and Matthew Radburn-Reid of Church Street Stores, Morchard Bishop, said they are thrilled to be winners of a South West Countryside Alliance Award. ()

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THE Church Street Stores in Morchard Bishop has been announced as the regional winner in the Village Shop/Post Office category of the Countryside Alliance Awards.

The Awards, nicknamed the “Rural Oscars”, are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food and farming, enterprise and heritage through its small hard-working businesses.

The awards are now in their 15th year and have become the definitive rural business award to win. They are set apart from other award schemes because they are driven by public nomination, offering customers the chance to explain why their favourite businesses are worthy of national acclaim.

This has been a record Awards as more than 18,000 nominations were made, showing just how much the public values and supports hard-working rural businessmen and women. The regional finalists have done exceptionally well to come this far as the competition was incredibly high this year.

Church Street Stores opened in 2012 when the village shop at the time closed down.

It stands out from many other village shops as it not only sells newspapers and essential items, it is also an advocate for locally produced/grown goods.

From the outside, it is a very traditional looking village shop, but inside not only does it look amazing but it smells great from all the freshly cooked pasties and cakes baked every day.

Beautiful displays of fresh fruit and vegetables, groceries, gifts and greetings cards make it a joyful shopping experience.

The shop also offers a take away service of hot food and locally roasted coffee too, which is a welcome delight for many visitors passing through.

Clare Radburn-Reid (Partner) says: “We have been well supported from the very beginning. Our aim was not to compete with the supermarkets but to offer something different.

“Obviously, we want to stock the essential items, but we are big believers of stocking what is produced in Devon. Currently about a quarter of our stock is produced in the South West, much of that within 20 miles of the shop.

“We like to think that shopping with us supports the local economy by creating jobs for local people, it also reduces food miles and is better for the environment.”

Due to Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown restrictions, the judging for the 2020 Awards was sadly postponed but the organisers judged virtually in the spring of 2021, with businesses showcasing their talent and telling their story over webcam instead.

The categories for the Awards include: best butcher, best pub, best village shop, local food champions, and rural enterprise champions.

Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented: “This year’s regional finalists are all truly exceptional. We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year.

“The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services. They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight.

“These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”

The judges said: "Church Street Stores is a wonderful asset to the village and the community. It stocks everything you need from interesting local produce as well as all the basics while keeping an eye on their impact to the environment. You couldn’t ask for more."

Matthew Radburn-Reid from Church Street Stores said: “We are delighted to be announced as regional finalists.

“It’s great to be recognised for all the hard work that we do, especially after the year that we have had!

“We want to thank all our customers who nominated us and their kind words of appreciation. We’re looking forward to the grand final to see if we take the national title.”

It was planned that the winners’ ceremony would be held at the House of Lords as in previous years, but due to Covid this years’ ceremony will be virtual later in the summer.

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