There has been a double cause for celebration for a Tyneside trader after his two stores were ranked among the best in Britain.
Nisa Local, in Crawcrook, near Ryton, and Loco, in Leam Lane, Gateshead – both owned by David Brown – have been classed in the Independent Achievers Academy’s Top 100 independent retailer list, seeing off competition from 40,000 stores across the UK and Ireland.
It is a major achievement for the two shops, both of which were recognised for their excellence across 12 areas, including shop layout, staff development, and environmental sustainability.
The success marks a proud moment for Brown, 46, who attributes the recognition to the importance of teamwork.
He said: “We’ve been lucky that we’ve got good, loyal staff, who tend to stick with us. For example, since we opened at Crawcrook in 1998, half of the staff who are currently with us have been there since day one. At both stores, we try and do things with a smile on our face. The staff have bought into what we’ve done over the years – how we’ve developed the stores, how we’ve extended the trading hours, and so on.”
The story has been one of steady progression for Brown.
“Leam Lane was actually my original shop, which we opened in 1995. And my original business was – and still is – called Iceberg Frozen Foods. We were originally freezer centres. But the business has evolved over the years – the marketplace started to go down the convenience route about 10 years ago.
“We started trialling convenience about five years ago, and we saw a good increase in business, so we looked around to see who was offering the best convenience package, and we went with Nisa.”
In 2010, Brown’s Crawcrook store changed to the Nisa Local format, and has since incorporated the village’s Post Office branch.
Both shops made the grade after a rigorous judging process, which also included a mystery shop assessment.