Just over two years ago, Liz Edmunds, 48, and her husband, Paul Edmunds, 50, took over Alverstoke Village Hardware just a few months before Covid hit.
Little did they know fighting to keep their doors open during a worldwide pandemic would lead them to not only be nominated but go on to win the Best Independent Shop award, set up by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage. As part of the awards more than 1,000 nominations were received online for 100 businesses.
Liz and Paul believe they have created a happy, charming environment within their shop, despite only having ‘four months of normality’ before the first lockdown in March 2020.
But throughout the past two years of the pandemic Liz said they were been lucky enough to keep their doors open for ‘a couple days during the week.’
She said: ‘The customers remained loyal, and we managed to pull through, which was amazing.’
She added they were able to continue to talk to their customers by having ‘conversations through the windows.’
When the Edmunds family found out that they had made it to the final 10 for the awards they asked their customers ‘to help make them the top hardware store in Gosport.’
A few weeks later, on Small Business Saturday, thousands of residents from the local areas threw in their vote in the public poll to decide which business was their favourite.
After tallying all the votes, Ms Dinenage visited the shop with a bottle of House of Commons champagne to announce their win.
Liz said: ‘I was absolutely delighted and can't thank people enough for all that they’ve done for us.’
After a rollercoaster of a year, Liz added: ‘We just hope that it all goes well and can continue to provide what we are at the moment and hope the customers remain loyal.’
A Slice of Vinyl in Gosport High Street, P&J’s Food in Elson and Anita Blushing Bloom in Lee-on-the-Solent were the competition’s runners up.