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West Berkshire cheese shop shortlisted for national award

Pangbourne Cheese Shop has aided villagers through lockdown

Charlie Masters

Charlie Masters

charlie.masters@newburynews.co.uk

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West Berkshire cheese shop shortlisted for national honour

The Pangbourne Cheese Shop has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC) – which represents more than 100,000 small businesses in the UK – has nominated the Reading Road-based outlet for the 2020 edition of its Best Small Shops competition.

The competition is sponsored by Maybe*, a firm working with local enterprises to help build their social media profile.

The winner will be announced later this month.

The Pangbourne Cheese Shop is the property of Cheese Etc and is managed by Ali and Jen Grimstone-Jones.

It stocks around 130 varieties of cheese, much of it sourced from independent producers.

Jen Grimstone-Jones said of the shortlisting: "It all got announced about a week to two weeks ago.

"We're in the top 30 independent shops in the country.

"We've got to wait until the end of November to hear as to whether we've got any further.

"There's been so much going on here – we were all just a bit blown away."

Throughout the summer lockdown period, the shop helped vulnerable and housebound villagers, providing deliveries of food and other essentials. Delivery charges and related restrictions were temporarily lifted on all purchases,

This was recognised by a national body, the Guild of Fine Food, which described the shop as an inspiration to independent retailers across the UK.

Mrs Grimstone-Jones believes this influenced the IRC's decision making.

She said: "We do free local delivery.

"We deliver through Reading, Newbury and Thatcham – there's no minimum order, no delivery charge.

"So people can actually order 100g of cheese, or one pot of chutney, and we will deliver it in the same week.

"That's been really vital, I think, especially for our more elderly customers, who don't want to go and buy £40 or £50 worth of stuff – they can just buy little bits, and we'll pop it round to them."

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