EAST Lothian businessman Ferhan Ashiq collected a top award for his innovative approach to his Musselburgh store at a glittering ceremony in London.

Mr Ashiq, who runs the Levenhall Village Store in the town, won the Retail Innovation prize at the Independent Achievers Academy (IAA) Awards, run in conjunction with the National Federation of Independent Retailers.

The judges said he “threw out the rulebook when strategising the concept of his small store”.

They praised Mr Ashiq, who also runs Prestonpans Village Shop, formerly Day Today, saying: “His diligent research ensured the best use of his 568 square feet of space. Finding simple solutions allowed him to incorporate food to go, including hot breakfast and made-to-order smoothies.

“Ferhan has also invested in technology, as well as Zapper and media screens. His counting machine has already greatly reduced mistakes when cashing up while the integration of a fingerprint clocking-in system cut down time spent on paperwork.”

Mr Ashiq attended the ceremony in East Wintergarden, London, where he collected his award.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled at having achieved this award from the IAA.

“It has been great to have been recognised for all the hard work we have put into the store and attaining such a prestigious accolade is the icing on top.

“I want to thank all my members of staff and my customers, without whom this would not have been made possible.”

The award was welcomed by Martin Whitfield, East Lothian MP, who said: “This prestigious award is further well-deserved recognition of Ferhan’s innovative approach to business.

“He is constantly looking for ways to improve the service in his shops and offer customers something new and different.

“We are fortunate to have such a successful local entrepreneur, who also works hard to make a positive contribution to the local community.”