THE Pangbourne Cheese Shop in Pangbourne, near Reading, has been named on the shortlist of retailers in the running to be named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020.

The shop offers around 130 local, British and continental cheeses, mostly from small artisan producers.

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It sources many of its cheeses direct from their makers, forming a link from farm to plate and taking time to learn as much as possible about how each cheese is made and matured.

All produce comes from small scale providers, who take great pride in their food, and the shop supports local makers wherever it can.

The shop offers a free local delivery service and is also happy to go out to the local shops and shop for customers who are unable to get into the village for whatever reason.

The Best Small Shops competition is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), whose member trade associations represent approximately 100,000 independent retailers throughout the UK between them.

The competition celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities.

It is sponsored by Maybe*, an engagement platform that helps make social media work for independent retailers. The winner will be announced next month.

Mark Walmsley, Chair of the IRC, said: “This has been a particularly challenging year for small, independent retailers and many have come through to this point through innovation, quality of product and service, a commitment to serve their local communities and a large dose of determination.

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“As more and more people have been forced to stay home and work from home, we have seen just how much we all value local independent shops and want to see them not just survive, but also thrive.

"These shops offer choice, diversity and genuine customer service.

"And, after what has been a rather dark year, that has to be worth celebrating.”

The annual competition highlights the best of Britain's independent retail sector, celebrating the commitment and creativity of independent retailers and the central role they play in their local communities.

Previous winners have included Bristol-based delicatessen Papadeli, the 2019 winner, and The Mainstreet Trading Company, a combined bookshop, café, deli and homeware shop based in St Boswells, in the rural Scottish Borders, which won in 2018.