Shop at Stanwick makes it to award final

Stanwick's popular village shop and post office is one step closer to winning a prestigious award after making it to the regional finals of a competition.

The Shop @ Stanwick and Post Office in High Street was nominated by its customers for the Best Village Shop category of the 2008 Countryside Alliance Awards and has now made it through to the regional finals.

Sub postmaster Vernon Frost said: "We are just overwhelmed because we have only been here 18 months, but it is brilliant.

"We are completely indebted to our staff and our customers because if it wasn't for them we wouldn't be here.

"I think we have a good shot at winning because we are trying to make sure we are involved as much as possible in the community and that we are at the heart of the village and I think our customers deserve it."

Mr Frost took over the business with Steve Ware and Neil Brailsford in July 2007 and since then business at the post office has trebled.

Since then, the business has begun sourcing as many products as it can from local producers, has launched a coffee takeaway for customers, put out tables and chairs outside the store to give villagers the chance to meet up and regularly supports community events and fundraisers.

Lidia Stanton of Hillstone, Stanwick, is a regular customer at the shop.

She said: "It is always a pleasure to pop into the shop.

"The owners have been there 18 months and it has made a massive difference. It has become a focal point of the village where everyone meets and they are very friendly and helpful.

"I am not at all surprised they made it to the finals because they so deserve it and have worked so hard to make a difference in the village."

The Countryside Alliance Awards celebrate the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick.

Twelve businesses will now go head to head for one of four regional titles and the chance of nationwide acclaim.

Other category finalists in Northamptonshire include the Radmore Farm Shop in the local food category, FE Coales and Son in the Daily Telegraph Traditional Business category and Muddy Matches in the rural enterprise category.

The winners will be revealed in March.