Traditional village store in line for 'Rural Oscar'

Thursday 26th October 2017 8:19 am
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Sylvia Kukanis delivers her produce to Walnut Tree Stores by bicycle ()

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A TRADITIONAL village shop in Llangynidr is in the running for a Countryside Alliance Award.

Walnut Tree Stores and Cafe has been nominated for a Rural Oscar in the Village Shop and Post Office category.

The nomination was made by the shop’s customers, who appreciate all the services the shop provides and its role as the hub of the community.

In their nomination, villagers said that in addition to being able to buy their groceries there, they are able to pick up their prescriptions, post mail and parcels and collect foreign currency for their holidays. The shop, which has a cafe, is also a popular meeting place for locals and somewhere visitors gravitate to when they come to see the village or the canal.

But the main reason the shop has been nominated, in the opinion of manager Howard Marlow, is because the shop goes above and beyond to help its customers. "We really like to see ourselves as offering a service to the community," said manager Howard Marlow, "only last week we had a phone call from a worried young lady who asked if we could pop up to her parents’ house as she hasn’t been able to contact them and was worried something had happened to them. One of our team drove there and found them safe and well but with no phone system. Job well done."

The shop is popular locally because it tries where possible to support local business. One of its suppliers is Sylvia Kukanis, who is a previous owner of Walnut Tree Stores, who delivers locally grown produce on her bicycle.

The shop has a Facebook page and has plans to sponsor the local junior football team. It even encourages local customers to bring in their Welsh cake recipes.

Among its future plans may even be the installation of American-style horse rails where customers who arrive on their horses can tie up the animals while they shop inside or visit the cafe.

Judging for the Rural Oscars will start next month after the deadline for nominations closes and the national winners will be announced at the House of Lords in the spring of 2018.

The overall champions are chosen by a panel which includes the food writer and Masterchef judge William Sitwell, Philip Johnston of the Daily Telegraph, Emma Penny of Farmers Guardian and Peter Gott of Sillfield Farm.

Follow the Awards on Twitter using the hashtag #RuralOscars.

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