New Opening Hours

Mon: 9am – 4.00pm
Tue: 9am – 4.00pm
Wed: 9am – 4.00pm
Thu: 9am – 4.00pm
Fri: 9am – 4.00pm
Sat: 9am – 4.00pm
Sun: 9am – 10.30am

How To Find Us

Post Office

Mon: 9am -1.00pm
Fri: 9am – 11.30am

Ilsington Village Shop
Old Town Hill
TQ13 9RG

Tel: 01364 661788


Like Us On Facebook
Facebook Pagelike Widget

Daily Telegraph 26 Feb 2015 declares us a Community Treasure!

Telegraph piece Thursday Feb 26 2015

Ilsington Village Shop was in the National Press for the first time in its short history. Elizabeth Anderson, the business reporter for the Daily Telegraph, wrote the full page spread about the Best Small Shop Awards 2015:

Community treasures: These are Britain’s 20 best small shops

Yorkshire delicatessen Hunters of Helmsley crowned Britain’s best small shop among 20 firms praised for community support.

These may be tough times for the high street, but many independent shops are thriving. Benefiting from local knowledge, they are using innovative ways of finding new customers and retaining loyal ones.

Twenty of the best small shop owners in Britain were invited to the House of Commons yesterday, recognised for the work they are doing to enrich their communities.

Hunters of Helmsley, a delicatessen in North Yorkshire that sources most of its produce from local suppliers, took the crown of Britain’s Best Small Shop. The judges, who included industry figures and The Telegraph’s consumer affairs editor Dan Hyde, praised its regional product sourcing and organisation of events to support the local high street.

Hunters was established in 1990, and since 2008 has been owned by Chris and Christine Garnett, both from Yorkshire farming families. Around 70pc of Hunter’s food is sourced locally.

Mrs Garnett says the success of Hunters comes from the fact that it works with local farms and suppliers to produce innovative, high-quality food. Last year Hunters created what it says is the world’s first Sloe Gin ice cream, after joining forces with a gin maker and dairy.

Three years ago the pair helped set up Helmsley in Business, a group made up of local shop owners who provide support for each other.

“When the recession took hold, I realised we all needed to work together – if one of us fails, the town starts to fail,” says Mrs Garnett.

For Gary Bilbrough, manager of convenience store Nisa Local in Toddington, Bedfordshire, successful shops are engrained in the community.

“We go the extra mile for our customers. We know many of them and if we haven’t seen someone for a while, we’ll check they’re OK. If someone’s ill, we’ll ask if we can take any shopping round to them,” he says. “We give everything we can to the village. We support them and they support us back.”

Mr Bilbrough sits on the local parish council, organising community events in the village, which has around 2,500 houses. Each year he organises a free Christmas party for 80 of the local elderly residents, and holds maths lessons with schoolchildren in the store to demonstrate the everyday relevance of maths.

He remains optimistic about what small shops can offer, and says that despite having a Morrisons and Tesco nearby, customers are loyal to Nisa because of the service.

“You have to keep your finger on the pulse. Listen to your customers, be there for them. When people come into the shop, it’s like I’m welcoming them into my front room. At the end of the day, you can buy a tin of beans anywhere. It’s the extra bits that matter.”

The owners of Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells, Roxburghshire, on the Scottish Borders, say the recession and the rising popularity of internet shopping has forced independent shops to up their game.

Rosamund and William De La Hey set up Mainstreet Trading Company in 2008 as a book shop, but always planned to expand. Now the store is also home to a café. The pair also recently renovated a barn next door, adding a delicatessen and an antiques and homeware section.

“Our town has a population of only 800, so we always knew we wanted to grow Mainstreet into a destination place – people don’t just come here for a book. We have book groups, hold author signings and host wine and beer tasting events,” says Mrs De La Hey.

She adds that bookshops have always been creative in attracting customers.

“It’s not the Doomsday scenario that was predicted when e-books first arrived. It’s changed our way of thinking but it hasn’t meant the end of the book. A shop’s success is all about the connection with customers as well.”

Emma Schramm, store manager at community store the Ilsington Village Shop in Devon, adds that villages are finding their own solutions to local shortages.

The Ilsington Village Shop was set up two years ago, after the previous local store closed down. Aside from one paid manager, the shop is run by 50 volunteers. Any profit the store makes is given back to improving community services.

“There’s only about 500 people in the village and we’re quite isolated. Some older people can’t travel far to the nearest supermarkets so to have a shop within walking distance makes a big difference to the villagers’ lives,” says Ms Schramm.


The Ilsington Village Shop is run by 50 volunteers.

MP Simon Danczuk, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group, says small shops should be championed more widely. “Small shops really are the backbone of Britain, providing essential services for local people and creating jobs in their communities. It’s right that Parliament acknowledges the vital role they play.”

Britain’s Best Small Shops

Belhaven Bikes, Dunbar, East Lothian

Booka Bookshop, Oswestry, Shropshire

Cocoa Amore, Leicester, Leicestershire

Elite Meat, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Heath Stores Horsmonden, Tonbridge, Kent

Hunters of Helmsley, Helmsley, North Yorkshire (Winner)

Ilsington Village Shop, Ilsington, Devon

Jet Wheel Tyre, Benfleet, Essex

Kirkcowan Cycles, Newton Stewart, Dumfries & Galloway

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath, North East Somerset

Nisa Local Toddington, Toddington, Bedfordshire (Highly Commended)

Observatory The Opticians, Beccles, Suffolk

Piccola Italia, Worthing, West Sussex

SS20, Oxford, Oxfordshire

The Bakers’ Table, Talgarth, Powys

The Book Nook, Hove, East Sussex

The Mainstreet Trading Company, St Boswells, Roxburghshire (Highly Commended)

The Music Exchange, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Village Greens, Charlesworth, Derbyshire

Wise Owl Toys, Worcester, Worcestershire

Comments are closed.