A village store has thanked its customers after it was listed as one of the top 100 independent shops in the UK.
Sam Ackland, owner of the Village Deli in Storrington said the village’s community spirit was key to her success in making the list from the Independent Achievers Academy.
She said: “Without them I would not be here.
“There’s a huge lot of community in Storrington. They are incredibly important to me.”
Sam stressed the importance of backing independent retailers.
She added: “That’s the way to save the high street. They have showed me a massive amount of support.
“It’s the community of Storrington that have come together and supported a local independent store and helped me achieve [the accolade].”
Sam said she was ‘really proud’ to have made the list, which has strict assessment criteria.
She added: “I’m just super thrilled.
“It’s a family run business. Essentially its my son and my partner who have put the effort in for the last year and two months [since we opened].
“For us to achieve this is a most enormous accolade and one which we’re so proud of.
“I’m just at the moment very proud to have made the list.”
An independent assessor performed a ‘mystery shop’ on the store, posing as a customer, according to Sam.
She said: “It’s a very rigorous and quite robust process to go through.
“They do not just test you on your customer service. It’s everything from how you label your products to how you display products.
“Because the criteria goes across all aspects of retail it’s a pretty robust system.”
Sam said it was a ‘massive achievement’ for the store to have made the list, but said in the future she hopes to be recognised ‘in other ways, for other things’.