A BARNSTAPLE family-run furniture shop has fought off stiff competition to pick up third place at a major industry award ceremony. Barrow Clark Furnishers, in Bear Street, was recognised nationally for its service and professionalism towards suppliers at

A BARNSTAPLE family-run furniture shop has fought off stiff competition to pick up third place at a major industry award ceremony.

Barrow Clark Furnishers, in Bear Street, was recognised nationally for its service and professionalism towards suppliers at the Association of Independent Stores (AIS) Annual Member of the Year Awards.

The third-generation independent business, which began life in Braunton in 1965, supplies middle, to top-end furniture including beds, sofas, chairs, dining and bedroom furniture, as well as carpets, flooring and curtains.

Co-director Rob Barrow, grandson of the late Derrick Barrow, said the award was totally unexpected:

"It came completely out of the blue; we were not trying to win an award which makes it even more special," he said.

"To be named in third place in our category in a national competition is a fantastic achievement and we are really touched to receive such an accolade. We are passionate about furniture and look to work with around 150 suppliers to deliver customers the quality they expect and it is an honour to be recognised in doing this."

As the largest buying group in the country, AIS enables independent businesses to source products and services on the same scale as the larger multi-national stores.

"AIS is fantastic for both the consumer and the retailer," added Mr Barrow. "Barrow Clark is able to benefit from remaining a completely independent business, owned and run by our family, while at the same time being able to join with other businesses to negotiate with manufacturers and suppliers to create and supply the right products at the right price."

Euan Kelway-Bamber, merchandise director at AIS, said: "By looking after their suppliers, they will surely look after Barrow Clark and enable them to meet the promises that they make to their customers.