A small shop in Exeter that sells candles made from recycled wax has been named as a runner-up in the search to find Britain's Best Small Shop of 2019.
The Recycled Candle Company, which moved into its new shop in Exeter in June this year, sells candles fragranced with its own bespoke scents created in collaboration with a UK-based French perfumier. The shop includes a workshop space for candle-making workshops, guest classes or hot-desking, and customers who donate used candles and students receive a discount whilst the shop's loyalty card rewards returning customers. Last year the retailer initiated a Golden Ticket scheme with other local businesses; tickets were given to customers to use as payment against purchases in the run up to Christmas.
The winner was named as Papadeli, a Bristol-based deli, in the competition that is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC). The other runner-up was named as Book-ish, an independent bookshop in Crickhowell, Powys. Cavanagh & Baker, a shop in Shanklin, Isle of Wight, that stocks everything from fine arts to country wines, and Small Stuff UK, a shop in Sheffield that specialises in ethical and eco-conscious lifestyle products and clothing for small children, were highly commended by the judges.
Speaking after receiving their recognition, co-owner Richard Hills-Ingyon said: "We are really really honoured; just to be among the 25 finalists has been fantastic in terms of recognising the difference that small independents can make to the high street. The whole point of today has been to highlight the service, the experience that just isn't available online. People have got to go out to see things like that and we are really happy to be recognised for the extra element you get when you come to shop with us."
The Best Small Shops competition is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC). 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 Near St, the retail technology company connecting products in shops to people searching nearby, and booost, a soon to be launched loyalty, gift and promotions app for independent retailers and their customers.
Speaking at the event, Meryl Halls, Vice Chair of the Independent Retailers Confederation, said: "It is great to be able to celebrate the lifeblood of our high streets, our independent retailers, especially at this time of uncertainty and discord. The role of an independent retailer can seem like a thankless task but they are nothing if not survivors. Small shop owners employ local people and contribute to local communities and we are so pleased to have been able to showcase the best of independent retailing and give a vision of how engaging and exciting our high streets can be."