Award for Shop@Stanwick

A popular village post office and shop has beaten nearly 400 other businesses to be named the second best in the country.

The Shop@Stanwick and Post Office was highly commended in the best village shop/post office section of the national finals of the Countryside Alliance Awards and only just missed out on the top title.

The shop's owners are working on plans to expand the business and hope to win the competition next year.

Sub-postmaster Vernon Frost took over the business with Steve Ware and Neil Brailsford in July, 2007, and they were nominated for the award by their customers.

Mr Frost said: "We were astounded to come second because the woman who beat us has been the runner-up for the past few years.

"The other 11 regional winners told us they had been in business for at least 20 years whereas we've only been in business for 18 months.

"We're proud and are very pleased for the village because it's thanks to our customers that we were there.

"We're currently in negotiations with the Post Office to expand our services and they're looking really positive.

"This is part of our plans to improve even more and we hope to win the competition next year."

Mr Frost and his colleagues were presented with their commendation at a ceremony in the House of Lords last week.

Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart said: "With the persecution our Post Office network has suffered over the past year it's encouraging to see the tenacious efforts still being put into running branches across the country.

"It is an absolute certainty the owners of the Shop@Stanwick would run any Post Office closure team out of town with no thought of returning.

"This fun and feisty team has breathed new life into the community and given it a focal point which was warmly praised by the dozens of customers who nominated it."

Nicola Wilson, 41, of Stanwick, who uses the shop every day, said: "They've made the village much more community-minded.

"Everyone loves coming here because of them – we're very proud of them."

Another regular customer, Heidi Blakemore, said: "They've done so much for the community and always support the school.

"Everyone is so happy for them."