An independent wine merchant in Whitehaven and a cycle shop in Penrith have been named on the shortlist of retailers in the running to be named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2019.

Richardson’s of Whitehaven offers a wide range of fine wines, rare vintage ports, hampers and gins and also roasts its own coffee beans in store.

The shop has been active in organising major maritime festivals, veterans’ parades, air shows, markets and photographic exhibitions, raising considerable sums of money for charities through these events.

It is also the honorary Consulate office to the US Navy by a historical quirk.

The shop, which has been a part of the town since 1995, is owned by Gerard Richardson MBE.

He said: “We are absolutely thrilled and delighted for Louise Savage as well, as she has worked for us for 19 years and is as responsible as anyone for the shop’s success. To be narrowed down first by popular vote and then selected into the finalists by a panel of retail experts is just incredible.

“Hopefully the spotlight will be good for the town as well because it really is gorgeous and deserves more tourist attention.”

Arragon’s Cycle Centre offers cycle hire, a Shimano Service Centre offering emergency repairs, and specialist wheel build.

It is a family-run business, established for over 40 years but now with a brand new shop – one of the North’s largest.

Now in its third generation of family ownership, it has a genuine desire to encourage and be approachable to anyone who wants to cycle, having developed customer trust with clients by only selling what’s right for them.

The Best Small Shops competition is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC).

The competition celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s high streets and the central role they play in their local communities.

It is sponsored by Near St, the retail technology company connecting products in shops to people searching nearby, and ‘booost’, a soon-to-be-launched loyalty, gift and promotions app for independent retailers and their customers.

The winner will be announced at an event at the Houses of Parliament on November 5.

Mark Walmsley, chairman of the Independent Retailers Confederation, said: “Independent retailers are the lifeblood of UK high streets. They offer tradition, choice and innovation through the diversity of niche products and services. Independent retailers are an integral part of local communities all around the UK.

“The Best Small Shops competition enables us to celebrate this unique industry. It is all about recognising the community and culture that is independent retail, giving us the chance to highlight its innovation, customer service, commitment to community and diversity.”