The company celebrated the award in style at last Thursday's ceremony

The company celebrated the award in style at last Thursday's ceremony

Brian Cleaver and Daughter has won the QV Foods Retail Market Trader of the Year award at the Re:fresh Award, piping Wareings of Tarleton to the post.

Single-mindedness has been a feature of a business that has never had the option of standing still. Brian helped change Corby from a three-day to a five-day market by being the only stall present on a Tuesday for four weeks. Brian and wife Jan currently also operate stalls in Southam, Warwick and Burslem.

Five successive years as leading citrus salesman for Fyffes Leicester convinced Brian that he could become master of his own destiny and in 1981, he opened his first market stall, in Loughborough.

A second stall on Melton Mowbray Market was the next acquisition, and within four years, a presence had been secured in Market Harborough and Corby.

As its name suggests, the business is truly a family affair. Its strategy has been to focus increasingly on quality and to offer a point of difference to a loyal band of customers who benefit from the family’s attention to detail. An innovative supplementary delivery service has expanded that customer base - with boxes of Cleaver’s fruit, veg and salads distributed to customers’ doors by Kirby and West Dairy trucks.

The business sources its produce through its own unit opposite Leicester market and employs nine staff. The facility has a 40 pallet fridge, as well as a modern office and a forklift, and fruit is delivered to the stalls using the company’s fleet of lorry and five vans.

An increase in recent years from an annual turnover of £2 million to £3m is testament to the future viability of the retail market sector.

Re:fresh judges said: “Deserved recognition for a stalwart of the retail market trade, whose family has embraced his passion for the business.”