Two local village shops are bidding to be named the best in the business. General Stores in Wooton Wawen, near Henley-in-Arden, and Village Stores in Long Compton, at the southernmost point of the county, are both nominated in the Village Shop / Post Office category for the Midlands region in the prestigious Countryside Alliance Awards, often referred to as the Rural Oscars.
The two shops will have to fend off competition from Alfrick and Lulsley Community Shop in Worcestershire, Kington Village Shop in Kington, Herefordshire, and Trefonon Village Post Office and Shop in Oswestry, Shropshire, as well as each other. The Midlands winner will be announced in the coming weeks before going up against four other regional winners in the national final.
“A huge congratulations to everyone who made it through to the Countryside Alliance Awards 2023/24 finals.,” an Awards spokesperson said. “It’s a huge triumph and credit to every business that is nominated for a CAA and shows the impact that you make in your local community.”
Even being nominated is considered quite an achievement, given the stature of the awards scheme, which is all about ‘celebrating rural businesses that go the extra mile’. Shortlisted retailers sometimes advertise their inclusion in a bid to boost sales and enhance their standing.
Two Warwickshire farm shops went head to head in the Local Food Midlands category last year. Both Hillers Farm Shop near Alcester and Rough Hill Farm Shop and Butchery, just outside Studley, were highly commended, but it was the former that took the regional crown in a public vote.
Hillers missed out on the national gong though, with that honour going instead to Gazegill Organics in Lancashire “where a passion for farming and education shines through”, the panel of judges said.