Sometimes, Size Isn't Everything
With a shop measuring just 6ft square, family business Grasmere Gingerbread® has clinched the title of Large Independent Retailer of the Year at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair Awards at Olympia, London.
“It’s a fantastic fillip for the entire team at Grasmere Gingerbread®,” said co-director Joanne Hunter, the 3rd generation of her family to own and manage the iconic 169-year-old Lake District business.
“Whilst the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is famous for being one of the tiniest shops in Britain, a hive of activity behind the scenes has helped us to expand and grow.”
With hundreds of entries from across the UK, judges prioritised Grasmere Gingerbread® over three other finalists - Flourish at Glenavon Farm in Bristol, Cobbs Farm in Berkshire and the De Beauvoir Deli in London.
Grasmere Gingerbread® was described as a “pioneering retailer” that provides “exceptional customer service” and which has developed “exciting initiatives to help future proof the sector and bring the community together in their local area.”
“Grasmere Gingerbread® keeps Cumbria’s rich culinary history alive and thriving,” added a spokesman for the Awards which celebrates excellence and product innovation in the fine food & drink community.
“During the Covid pandemic, when many small outlets were hit by a major collapse in sales after local markets and shows were cancelled, Grasmere Gingerbread® invested time and energy with suppliers to produce new products for online customers.”
Grasmere Gingerbread® recently opened new administration and mail order dispatch offices directly opposite The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, and this summer opened a second shop in Hawkshead. As well as Grasmere Gingerbread® and other ginger-flavoured foodstuffs, the Hawkshead outlet sells fresh takeaway artisan coffee.
Invented in 1854 by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson, Grasmere Gingerbread® is feted by celebrities, royalty and is exported to customers across the globe.
Eamont and Eden Rose Hunter, the son and daughter of Joanne and Andrew Hunter who jointly own and manage Grasmere Gingerbread®, collected the trophy at Olympia, London.
For Joanne and Andrew the award is the culmination of more than two decades of dedication.
“Since we took over in 2000 we have always honoured the ethos and legacy of Sarah Nelson by growing her original business into something she could be proud of today,” said Andrew.
“We now have two shops, are open the whole year round, employ 26 people and run a busy mail order service nationally and internationally to satisfy customer demand.”
The business has diversified into wedding favours, ginger-flavoured food products and ginger-themed gifts - most of which are sourced in Cumbria.