Mystery shoppers target historic market towns

Hayling Island Lions member Rod Elliott outside Tesco, Station Road, Hayling Island

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MORE than 40 businesses from four historic market towns put themselves to the test as part of a mystery shop initiative.

The scheme was organised by Winchester City Council for businesses in Bishop’s Waltham, Denmead, Wickham and Alresford.

David Webb, the rural affairs and tourism policy chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses with Charlie Anzano of Piccola Roma of Bishop's Waltham

David Webb, the rural affairs and tourism policy chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses with Charlie Anzano of Piccola Roma of Bishop's Waltham

Shopper Anonymous, a mystery shopping company, tested businesses signed up to the scheme and then held consultations afterwards on how they could improve.

Those with outstanding customer service were recognised at an awards ceremony in Bishop’s Waltham on Thursday.

At the ceremony, 28 businesses were awarded certificates marking their achievement of a gold standard – more than 90 per cent.

Sharing the top score were Piccola Roma, Bishop’s Waltham’s Italian restaurant, and Byrne Runciman, the Wickham-based estate agent.

The team at Byrne Runciman, of The Square, Wickham, who were joint overall winners

The team at Byrne Runciman, of The Square, Wickham, who were joint overall winners

Charlie Anzano, who owns Piccola Roma with her husband Erasmo, said: ‘It is a huge compliment.’

Director of Byrne Runciman, Ben Runciman, said: ‘We’re delighted to be joint overall winners of this award.’

As well as the individual businesses, mystery shoppers were also asked to comment on their overall impression of the town they visited, such as parking and the mix of independent shops.

A trophy was also presented to Wickham, which had the highest scoring group of businesses.

BUSINESSES THAT SCORED MORE THAN 90 PER CENt

Abbart, The Square, Wickham

Alresford Beauty, West St, Alresford

Apple Crumble and Kitsch, High St, Bishop’s Waltham

Barringtons Deli & Cafe, High St, Bishop’s Waltham

Best Wishes of Bishop’s Waltham, Brook House, Brook St, Bishop’s Waltham

Bishops’ Waltham Post Office, High St, Bishop’s Waltham,

Bishop’s Waltham Toybox, Brook St, Bishop’s Waltham

Byrne Runciman, The Square, Wickham

Cassis Ladies Fashions. The High Street, Bishop’s Waltham

Chesapeake Mill, Bridge St, Wickham

Chocolate Flip Flop, Cross St, Bishop’s Waltham

Discover Wine, Hambledon Road, Denmead

Eddolls Carpets, Broad St, Alresford

Fitique, Broad St, Alresford

Grover Butchers, High St, Bishop’s Waltham

Hazel’s, High St, Bishop’s Waltham

Mange2 Deli, West St, Alresford

Morgan’s Hardware, High St, Bishop’s Waltham

Offbeet Food, in Cafe Meon, Bridge Street, Wickham

Piccola Roma, Houchin St, Bishop’s Waltham

Print It Now, Lower Basingwell St, Bishop’s Waltham

Ron Upfield, High St, Bishop’s Waltham

South Downs Funeral Service, Denmead and Wickham

Studio 4 Gifts, High St, Bishop’s Waltham

Susie Watson Design, West St, Alresford

The Naked Grape, West St, Alresford

Tull’s Fine Foods, The Square, Wickham

Wickham Dental Practice, The Square, Wickham

Overall winners

Byrne Runciman, The Square, Wickham

Piccola Roma, Houchin St, Bishop’s Waltham

Best overall town - Wickham