A Barnstaple shop which goes the extra mile for its customers has been named in a list of the top 100 convenience stores in the UK and won a prestigious Service to the Community Award.

The accolade was presented to Lesley and Bill Brown of Frankmarsh Stores at Gorwell by Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis at the Independent Achievers Academy Awards in London.

It is the fourth year running that the Barnstaple store has made it into the top 100 and it has long been a focal point for its community thanks to the tireless work of the Browns and their staff.

Two other local stores were also honoured, with Premiere Whitstone Village Stores near Holsworthy winning the marketing to Customers Award and Best One Barton Torrs in Bideford being named in the top 100.

The IAA was set up to promote the highest standards amongst independent retailers and the top stores are judged on a strict list of criteria, as well as undergoing an unannounced “mystery shopper” visit.

Frankmarsh Stores continues to help its community in a variety of innovative ways, as Lesley explained:

“Until recently we didn’t have a community building so we used the shop as a meeting place for things like police and councillor surgeries,” she said.

“We also organised lots of fund raising from the store to help to buy the new community office.”

The store regularly acts as a focal point when community events are taking place and also support the events too – donating the pumpkins for children to carve to light the Spooky Walk event at Hallowe’en.

The store delivery service is not only handy, it is often a welcome point of contact for those who are housebound, with staff making sure their customers are okay and offering assistance of needed.

“This award is for the communities of Frankmarsh and Gorwell, the people who support us day in, day out,” said Lesley.

“And we could not do most of what we do without our dedicated team of staff.”