A shopkeeper who provides a vital community service with a smile has been dubbed one of Britain's best.

Dinesh Kumar won first prize in the Independent Retailer of the year category at the 2006 Asian Trader Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

Customers of Patson Local in Whetley Lane, Girlington, agreed Mr Kumar's shop was well deserving of the top accolade.

Mr Kumar said: "I am absolutely delighted to win the award as I've been after it for a long time. I entered four years ago, but didn't get anywhere.

"I wasn't going to enter it, but my family said I should and now I've walked away with £2,500. I couldn't have done it without my family's support."

Patson Local is a family business run by Mr Kumar, his wife Raksha, his brother, Hem and his brother's wife Gita.

Mr Kumar will donate ten per cent of his winnings to charities including Cancer Research and World Vision. The rest of the money will be invested back into the shop.

To be nominated for the award, which was presented by trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling MP and Ramniklal Solanki OBE, editor-in-chief of the Asian Trader, Mr Kumar filled in a questionnaire which asked about what he had done to progress his business.

A representative of Asian Trader, a business magazine publisher, came to the shop to judge it on all-round professionalism, innovative approaches to retailing and what the shop does for the community.

Mr Kumar said: "I knew I was in with a chance when the judge started asking more questions about my shop. He was there for two hours."

This year there was a record number of entries for the competition and in the category of independent retailer about 600 people entered.

Customer Lloyd Farquharson, of Salt Street said: "The guys who work in here are really friendly. I've been coming in here for 20 years and have known Dinesh and his brother since they were kids, I was even invited to their weddings."

Naheed Rahsid, 28, of Ashwell Road, said: "I come here because it is close, they have friendly staff and Dinesh always makes people laugh when they come in."

At the awards Mr Darling paid tribute to the vital contribution made by small shopkeepers to the UK. He said the awards celebrated the hard work, innovation and determination of the British Asian business community.

e-mail: ali.davies@bradford.newsquest.co.uk


Kasia Klyczcz, 20, a student, of Regency Court, Girlington: "They sell a lot of Polish food here and it is a lot cheaper than in the city centre. The staff are really friendly too."

Pervez Khan, 40, salesman, of Lumb Lane, Bradford: "It's very, very nice family run business and you can get everything you need here."

Susan Berry, 44, care assistant of Wilsden: "I come here to sort out any problems I have with my mobile phone and they always know what to do and the staff are always very helpful and polite."

Aurangzeb Khan, 38, self-employed, of Bertam Street: "The service is really friendly and because I run my own business it's good that I can pay all my bills here. It means that I can save time and get everything done here."

Mohammed Shahid, 21, DIY salesman, of Barkerend Road: "You always get a very friendly service and there's a nice atmosphere when you come in. You can get everything you need here."

Zoran Karagic, 38, self-employed property manager from Shipley: "I come here because you get a good service, everything is laid out nicely and it is in convenient location. Nothing else in the area matches up to it."

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