Two Hampshire newsagents are in the running for the Daily Echo Newsagent of the Year awards. Hardworking and friendly staff at Greenwoods newsagent, Swaythling, and Park News, in Southampton city centre, have been selected as finalists for the Daily Echo-sponsored annual awards.

The prestigious awards are a chance for the community to honour the hard work of our retailers.

Chris Mitchell, who runs Greenwoods with his wife Bridget, said: “It is wonderful, and nice that people have recognised our shop like this.”

Judges selected the newsagent as a strong competitor after receiving nominations from Daily Echo readers. The couple’s easygoing and relaxed approach to customer service was singled out for praise.

Chris said: “I think connection with customers is very valuable.”

The 52-year-old has been running his shop for three years after quitting his job in IT after 15 years. He will be up against another couple, Gurdip and Prabhjot Sandhu, also recognised for their professional approach to customer service in their small but well-stocked city centre shop, Park News. Dad-of-three Gurdip, 42, said the accolade comes after four years of building his business. He said: “It has been very hard work, and I work seven days a week. I know when you get a customer in a shop you have to make an effort to get them coming in again.”

The winner will be announced at a glamorous awards ceremony on October 26 at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton.

The winning newsagent will not only get £100 in vouchers, but will also be able to hang up its own plaque in the shop telling the locals it is the best in the south. The runner-up will be awarded £25 in vouchers.

This comes after Gurdip found out he is also one of three finalists in the Independent Convenience Retailer of the Year category in the National Federation of Retail Newsagents’ Retail Excellence Award on October 23.