A SUPERMARKET style store in Irvine has received top recognition for the role it plays in the community.

The Bourtreehill Supermarket, based in the Lower Vennel in the village centre, was highly commended among nominees in the Community Retailer of the Year category at the Scottish Asian Business Awards.

They also had high praise heaped on them by announcers, who paid homage to the business for the extra community work they do - despite the fact they were not crowned winners on the night.

The event at the Marriott hotel in Glasgow saw some well earned recognition for the family-run business, which has been at the heart of the community for near on five years.

The award nominees for the event were decided by the public, something which shop owner Imran Ali, whose family have owned businesses in the area for around 35 years, was especially pleased about.

He told the Times: “We were pleasantly surprised because we didn’t enter the awards – it’s members of the public that nominate you.

“The team were happy to get a wee bit of recognition as well – that we’ve been doing good work all year round.

“Given the number of shops in Scotland and the amount of finalists I think that was quite a good outcome.”

Irvine Times: Locals always get behind the shop's initiatives.Locals always get behind the shop's initiatives. (Image: Bourtreehill Supermarket)

So what exactly was it that saw this wee village shop receive top recognition nationwide.

Imran explained what they have set out to do since taking over the former Co-op, which was also leased by another business and then left derelict for several years, before they moved in.

He commented: “I’ve been saying since we took over the shop – there’s not much in the Bourtreehill village centre anymore.

“That takes away a lot of community aspect from the village centre, so we took a wee bit of burden on but we’re happy.

“My team love doing it, volunteering and giving me ideas for community projects so we all work together.

“A lot of my team are local, so that’s how they support it even more – we go out our way to take it that step further.

“It’s never about costs for us, some events can cost us thousands of pounds and realistically in the current financial climate we can’t really afford that, but we still continue to do it and we do more and more projects.”

And it does not take much digging to evidence the good work that Imran and his team are doing in Bourtreehill.

The shop are consistantly organising events in the community, and setting up initiatives to give back whenever they can.

This included giving out over 200 selection boxes to the local primary school, running free kids arts and craft workshops, building an under fives softplay and a cafe in the shop and more recently, reducing the price of essential items like Warburtons bread to as little as 50p.

While almost the whole of Bourteehill made their way to the shop over Christmas, when they put on a free event which saw two real life reindeer and alpacas come to Bourtreehill.

Irvine Times: Some images from the shops Christmas event.Some images from the shops Christmas event. (Image: Bourteehill Supermarket)

“I wanted something different for the kids, that they wouldn’t normally see – and it had great impact," Imran said

“The village centre was just absolutely packing with the whole community."

It's not just youngsters they look to help out. They have launched a recent 'heat and eat' initiative for the area's elderly population.

This project allows pensioners to come in and enjoy a free hot meal, a carton of juice and fruit - with a delivery service also available.

These meals are donated by the store themselves everytime a customer donates money in the stores collection tin or purchases a carrier bag.

It's been a journey to get to get to this stage, but Imran is just hoping he is giving Bourtreehill something to be proud of.

He added: “We opened on a minimal budget, because we didn’t have the luxury of having hundreds of thousands of pounds. We transformed the shop into a mini supermarket and from there we’ve just been constantly re-investing.

“We’ve tried to fill the void of having a supermarket-style shop but also integrating it with the community.

“We’re fiercely independent and we do our own thing – we’re proud to be like that and it seems to go down well with the local community.”

For all the latest on the shop - visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/deliverirvine.