Sunderland corner shop named as one of Britain’s best. Which one’s your favourite?

Kimberley Huitson (left) and sister Natalie Cowell of Wilson's Convenience AStore, Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland, who have been  listed in the top 100 retailers in the UK.
Kimberley Huitson (left) and sister Natalie Cowell of Wilson's Convenience AStore, Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland, who have been listed in the top 100 retailers in the UK.
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THIS family firm is celebrating after being listed as one of the best in the country.

Wilson’s Convenience Store has earned a place in the top 100 retailers in the country.

The shop, in Ashbrooke, was bestowed the accolade from the Independent Achievers Academy (IAA) for the third year running last month, after sisters Natalie Cowell, 31, and Kimberley Huitson, 28, took over managing the business from parents Richard, 60, and Denise Wilson, 62 in 2010.

The pair say it was a tough job achieving the title this year.

“We are aware that the shop needs a bit of a facelift at the moment so we knew it would be tight this year,” said Natalie.

“So we are really pleased we got it.

“It’s nice to get some recognition for the work we do, because the way that the climate is at the moment we do work long hours for not much profit.

“But we have such a loyal customer base that it makes it worth it.”

Natalie and Kimberley said it is the family feel to the business that helped them clinch the award.

“I think it’s probably the standard of the shop and the dedication to build on what we have already got,” said Natalie.

“And, the determination to grow and expand the business.

“We are conscientious in every area of the shop really.”

Richard, who still helps out, said his daughters’ efforts could see them pick up extra recognition in specialist categories at the IAA awards in coming years.

“In the past we have been short listed in the customer service category,” he said.

“The girls are competing against more experienced retailers who don’t have other family commitments as they do.

“But, if they keep going the way they are with the innovative ideas – and with a bit of a push from me – they could easily receive extra awards in the next few years.”

The proud dad said it is a pleasure to see the business changing thanks to the former St Anthony’s pupils’ work.

“The girls have really taken it on well and done a lot of things,” he said.

“They’re putting their own mark on the shop with their ideas, so we are really proud of them.”

The IAA 2013 UK & Ireland Top 100 retailers is a nationally recognised achievement.