A Tamworth shoe store has put its best foot forward, being named store of the year by parent company Athlete's Foot.
Franchise owner Paul Lawrence said the Tamworth store was narrowly pipped to the post by the Burnside store, based in Adelaide, last year.
This year, it was the other way around.
Tamworth's store has far less walk-by traffic than metropolitan Athlete Foot franchises, but they beat some 130 stores across the country for the highly-prized award.
"It's pretty satisfying," Mr Lawrence said.
"It just goes to show that if you put the hard work in, you can compete with those guys.
"It's driven by the staff here, who are really good. It's hard work for them. They're really excited that they got the award."
Mr Lawrence has owned the Peel Street business for four years and has twice been named the best store in NSW.
The award is judged on customer service and sales growth, with the first factor judged by customer feedback.
"Staff are the real heroes of the thing," he said.
The win comes despite a relatively disrupted year.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the Tamworth store to shut its doors for several weeks, only selling shoes online.
Even when restrictions loosened, business was still not quite back to normal.
"Coming out of it and then having to deal with being double-vaxxed was tough; that was keeping a lot of people away," he said.
"It was a bit of a slow grind there for a while. Once all the people have got their head around it, what they've got to get done, [it was fine]."
Mr Lawrence was presented the glass prize at a conference in Wollongong last week.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
- Bookmark northerndailyleader.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Google News