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Two Helmsley delis shortlisted in Shop of the Year 2018

Hunters of Helmsley and Thomas of Helmsley both shortlisted for Best Deli Award

The Guild of Fine Food’s annual Shop of the Year awards, an accreditation which recognises and promotes excellence in independent retail, has announced its shortlist for 2018 and two Helmsley delis are among those in the running for the Best Delicatessen award.

Having had their written entries reviewed by a panel of respected industry experts, both Hunters of Helmsley and Thomas of Helmsley will now undergo two further rounds of judging this summer, including an announced visit from one of the judges and a mystery shop by Shopper’s Anonymous.

Previously forming part of the Great Taste accreditation scheme, Shop of the Year has evolved to apply an even more rigorous and robust judging process dedicated solely to retail. Celebrating delis, farm shops, cheesemongers and more, Shop of the Year offers independent retailers a chance to achieve a stamp of approval with real integrity, much like Great Taste does for food and drink products.

From the overall shopping experience and financial performance to staff training opportunities and environmental initiatives, the panel of highly experienced judges, which includes Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, who has worked for both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and Georgina Mason from Gonalston Farm Shop, will rate, score and feedback on every aspect of Hunters and Thomas’ before agreeing on an overall category winner.

Tony Porter, chair of the Helmsley in Business group, said: “Both Hunters and Thomas’ are a key part of the Helmsley community, and they are a big draw for people from far and wide. Helmsley has a long-standing reputation for being somewhere food lovers flock to, so it’s no surprise to us that the town has two representatives on the list! Both shops are very different, but they’re both havens for anyone who loves good food and drink. We’re delighted for them and wish them the very best of luck.”

Christine Garnett, who owns Hunters of Helmsley with husband Chris, added: “We are over the moon to have made the shortlist. For almost 30 years, the team at Hunters has worked extremely hard to build up a reputation for finding the very best food and produce for our customers, and so it’s always wonderful to receive recognition of that. We look forward to meeting the judges and talking them through the Hunters’ ethos of supporting local suppliers.”

Simon Thomas, general manager of Thomas of Helmsley, added: “We’re delighted to have made the shortlist for Best Delicatessen. Last year was a big one for Thomas of Helmsley, with essential £850,000 renovations taking place in the store, through which our team kept smiling and providing an excellent service for our customers. We’ve now been able to create the deli we’ve always wanted, so it’s fantastic to have got through to the next round, where the judges can come and see it for themselves.”

On Thursday 20 September, Shop of the Year 2018 will reach an exciting finale when the world of fine food gathers at No. 42 Southwark Street, the Guild of Fine Food’s London base, to find out the winners of Best Delicatessen; Best Farm Shop or Garden Centre with Food Hall; Best Grocer, Village or Community Shop; and Best Specialist Cheese Shop.