A combined bookshop, café, deli & homeware shop based in St Boswells, in the rural Scottish Borders, has been named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2018 at an event at the Houses of Parliament.

The Mainstreet Trading Company’s Bookshop & Café is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, having added a Deli & Home section in 2012, thereby expanding its customer base.  Innovations introduced by the business include the ‘A Year of Books’ subscription service; Book Burrows, two ‘dens’ where the shop plays children’s audio books, and the Love Your Indie book loyalty card.

Rosamund de la Hey, owner of The Mainstreet Trading Company, said:

“It’s amazing and unexpected to win the Best Small Shops competition having been shortlisted alongside an incredible array of fantastic independents from so many different sectors.

“I’m particularly pleased to be recognised with three fellow booksellers, we’re mutually supportive of each other – and it’s great that overall, a bookshop is the winner. We’ve been celebrating our 10th birthday this year so winning the Best Small Shops competition truly is the cherry on the cake for us. We wouldn’t have been able to win this award without our team and it’s an equally important achievement for them.”

“In this year’s Best Small Shops competition, we have been able to celebrate the diversity, choice and quality of specialist independent retailers around the country and the contribution that they make to their local communities,” explains Mark Walmsley, Chairman of the Independent Retailers Confederation.

“We hope that in the run-up to Christmas it helps shine a light on some of the gems of our high streets and town centres and encourage more people to explore the independents in their areas.”


Ruth George MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Small Shops, told those attending that she was delighted to “celebrate the creativity you bring to your businesses and the contribution you make to your communities. Strong independent retailers bring people into town centres.”

There were two joint runners-up in this year’s competition: Hopes of Longtown, an independent village store in Longtown, near Hereford, and Longwell Records in Bristol, which opened in April 2016 and was owner Iain Aitchison’s first venture into retail.

The Best Small Shops competition, managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC) sponsored by booost, the brand new loyalty, gift and promotions app for independent retailers and their customers, celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities.

See coverage for the Best Small Shops Competition placed by the Astute team in The Times and The Bookseller.