Sourced Locally Awards - Store of the Year

The past year has been like no other. We’ve had to continuously adapt to meet unprecedented demand, and we couldn’t have achieved this without the support of our local producers and colleagues.

Our new Sourced Locally Awards will celebrate the amazing efforts of local producers and colleagues during the pandemic to meet unprecedented demand and support communities across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

This year you were able to vote in two categories: Producer of the Year, which celebrated those producers who went the extra mile to support our region throughout the Covid pandemic and Store of the Year, which recognised stores that went the extra mile to champion local produce.

Voting was open from Monday 21 June to Sunday 25 July. The winners will be announced in October 2021.

Find out more about our six shortlisted stores:

Costessey, Norfolk

“Sourced Locally produce is very important as it maintains and builds the local economy and creates jobs in the local area. As a Co-op, a proportion of our profits go to charities and local organisations and shopping locally helps to make this possible.

Before the pandemic, our teams regularly held demonstrations for our customers to encourage them to support local suppliers by giving their products like strawberries, cheese, gin and sauces a try.

It provides shoppers with a more personal experience, there are less food miles involved in buying from the Sourced Locally range and the quality of local produce is excellent.” – Jonnie Gilbert, Store Manager, Costessey

Sible Hedingham, Essex

“When you buy local produce, you’re not only getting great tasting, fresh food and drink but you’re also supporting your local economy. I know lots of our customers love that when they shop from our Sourced Locally range, they are supporting a passionate team of farmers or producers in the next town or village – it gives our store even more of a community feel.

As a team, we love learning about each of the suppliers we stock and we’re always working hard to make sure our displays catch our customers’ eyes, helping to encourage them to try new local food and drink.” – Mandy Townrow, Store Manager, Sible Hedingham

Woodbridge, Suffolk

“I think the pandemic has shown us that community and local life are the foundations of society. For a lot of people, we are a support service – a lifeline for communication and conversation. When we introduced online home delivery, a lot of elderly customers were not confident using it, so we offered them training – we have one customer, who is 107 years-old and she now knows how to Facetime her grandchildren since we showed her how to use it.

Suffolk has some of the best produce in the country - we’re always steering our customers towards our Sourced Locally range, which reduces food miles, and our teams visit local sites, such as strawberry and asparagus fields, to gain as much knowledge as possible. We’re also very proud of our Gold level Suffolk Carbon Charter award, which recognises our commitment to carbon reduction and environmental management.” – Chris Matthews, Store Manager, Woodbridge

Framlingham, Suffolk

“We passionately support our local communities; this includes producers and suppliers. The East of England Co-op is one of the biggest employers in the region and shopping in our local stores helps us to continue to grow as a business and provide jobs for the local community. 

Framlingham has a lot of local suppliers not far from the store – our customers are aware of this and are keen to support these small local businesses.

We replace named brand products with locally sourced items where possible, off-shelf displays have been created to help maximise visibility, and a display of locally sourced items will be at the front of the store from the 21 June to support our Sourced Locally Fortnight.” – Ryan Cornwall & Steve Charlton, Store Managers covering Framlingham

Manningtree, Essex

“Local food is better! It’s picked and in store in a shorter time – generally, the shorter the time between the farm and the table, the better it tastes and the less nutrients are lost, so it’s healthier for you too. The local strawberries we sell are from a farm in the next village to Manningtree. 

All our local produce comes from Essex, Suffolk or Norfolk. Local is an investment in our local communities…Local is an investment in the future…Local means a fair price for all…Local is helping the environment.

As a store, we always fully support Sourced Locally Fortnight by ensuring we have enough stock for our customers and don't run out of the excellent promotions we offer. Local seasonal produce lines are especially popular in Manningtree, such as strawberries, asparagus and mushrooms. And we always look to embrace any new local supplier that is added to our range.” – Paul Bates, Store Manager, Manningtree

Lavenham, Suffolk

“It’s incredibly important to shop local because the money spent boosts the local economy whilst building a closer and stronger community. It enables British entrepreneurs to flourish and succeed in their speciality, creating local jobs at the same time. A lot of local businesses are family run and passionate about what they do – we need to keep behind them to ensure they remain successful for years to come.

It’s a great thing to know that the local products we promote have created jobs for local people…We believe you can truly tell the difference in quality when serving our customers local products. Great taste is certainly something we love to get behind!

Our store is located in such a thriving, community-oriented area that it’s more important than ever to boost the sales of our local products. That’s why we look to make big, bold and eye-catching displays to promote our local suppliers. We also like to talk with our customers about the local products we sell, offering them alternatives to the mainstream brands.” – Jade Rodger, Store Manager, Lavenham