A TIDWORTH business development manager has been recognised with a prestigious award for her work in the convenience sector.

Susan Connolly was presented with the Leading Edge Award at the annual Institute of Grocery Distribution Awards held at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London for her role in the family business which owns four SPAR shops in Wiltshire.

The awards celebrate the best in food and grocery and Susan received her trophy from the BBC presenter and journalist Fiona Bruce.

The Leading Edge Award recognises up-and-coming “passionate, dedicated individuals” whose achievements over the past year have made a real difference to their businesses.

Susan was heavily involved in the major redevelopment of the Connolly family’s Pennings Road, Tidworth store which was completed earlier this year after a £1m redevelopment project in which SPAR’s regional distribution company Appleby Westward co-invested. The project saw the store more than double in size to 2,100 sq.ft. following a 10-month redevelopment programme.

She said: “I was shocked but very proud and delighted to win this prestigious award. It has been a huge step forward for our Pennings Road store, and we have created a convenience shopping offer that is second to none in the area which makes our family very optimistic about the future.”

Judges said Susan had “shown commitment to her sector that goes beyond the immediate industry and shown how innovation combined with a deep understanding of the consumer can bring about outstanding business results.”

David Wilkinson, HR director at Premier Foods which sponsored the Leading Edge Award, said: “Susan emerged as a clear winner in this category, delivering to a high standard within a strong field. Her commitment to the sector as a whole goes beyond her own company and this, combined with her energy, commitment and passion, is what set her apart for this award.

“The Tidworth store is a showcase for innovation and the use of technology. Furthermore, all four Connolly SPAR stores combine sound business management with a strong sense of community and employee engagement. Through Susan’s leadership they are well placed to grow further in the future.”

The Connolly family business began in Tidworth in 1961 when Susan’s grandparents began selling newspapers, sweets, cigarettes and other items. Today, the business operates two SPAR stores in Tidworth, another in Ludgershall and a fourth in Pewsey, employing 35 people in total.