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Bury St Edmunds shop Buy the Light takes prize at Greats Gift Retail Awards 2020

A shop owner says her company’s triumph at the ‘Oscars for gift businesses’ was a moment to savour, despite the ceremony being online.

Buy the Light, in Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds , last week won Independent Gift Retailer of the Year for East Anglia at the Greats Gift Retail Awards 2020.

But instead of the usual black tie evening event, nominees watched online to see if they had won.

Lesley Bancroft shows off the award Picture by Mark Westley
Lesley Bancroft shows off the award Picture by Mark Westley

And it was good news for Buy the Light, dubbed the ‘smelliest shop in Bury’, which has been selling candles and other gift ideas in the town for 22 years.

Shop owner Lesley Bancroft said: “It was different but just as exciting to know we had won.

“It was strange to have no crowds or clapping. We all watched the ceremony at home by computer and whereas we would normally go up on stage to collect the award, we are now going to receive it by post.”

The 21 awards honoured firms around the country for different specialities as well as choosing a best independent gift retailer for nine different regions.

For East Anglia, Buy the Light beat competition from shops in Cambridge, Ingatestone, Woodbridge, Bungay, and Brightlingsea.

Lesley Bancroft shows off the award Picture by Mark Westley
Lesley Bancroft shows off the award Picture by Mark Westley

Lesley said her shop may have been named winner because of their engagement on social media and their commitment to supporting local businesses around the town.

“There were hundreds of shops to put themselves forward,” she added, “but there were only six on the shortlist. If you work in the gift trade, you are aware of the awards!

“We have been a finalist so many times, but have not won since 2011. I think another reason could be that we have been supplying lots of British brands, which are in demand from customers.”

She continued: “It is brilliant to win. And of course it is because of the support we have been given by the customers and suppliers over the years. Lots of customers have been coming in to give us their congratulations.”

Sue Marks, an organiser of the awards and editor of Progressive Gifts and Home, said: “While we were all extremely sad that we could not hold the event in its physical format this year, this way we could still celebrate the outstanding winners and finalists.”

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