Specialist Lincoln retailer Linda Wardale is on a high after beating off regional competition to scoop a top accolade.
The owner of Yellowbellys in Gordon Road, off Bailgate, is now the proud owner of a certificate which declares that she won the VIVA! Award for having the best shop for vegans and vegetarians in the North East area of the UK.
VIVA! campaigns for a vegan and vegetarian world, and Linda was among the lucky winners in its 20th Anniversary Awards.
“VIVA! Founder and Director Juliet Gellatley wrote to me a couple of months ago to say that our shop had been nominated for an award. After that, it was a case of trying to encourage people to vote for us,” said Linda.
“My daughter Jen posted an appeal on Facebook, to rally support, and we made a flyer to display in the shop. People saw them and said they would vote, but of course we had no idea whether they actually would.”
A glittering awards ceremony – to congratulate winners across a variety of different categories – was staged in London in September, but Linda was unable to attend due to a prior engagement.
“I hadn’t heard anything so I thought that was that, until the postman called the other day and handed me a parcel containing the certificate, which now has pride of place in Yellowbellys,” said Linda.
“I still have no idea who nominated us, but I am thrilled at my success and the fact that it not only helps to put my shop, but Lincoln too, on the wider map,” said Linda.
Apart from selling a wide range of foods for vegans and vegetarians, Linda is also known for her handmade egg, dairy and gluten-free cupcakes, birthday and other celebration cakes.
“I say it’s like having a corner shop with a difference and I have a loyal local customer base, as well as shoppers who travel miles to visit me,” added Linda, who is also Chairman of the city’s Bailgate Guild.”
Mum Sarah Small often visits Yellowbellys with her 20-months-old son Harry. “Harry is allergic to dairy and egg products, so we pop in now and then for various items, including cakes. Linda has a good selection,” said Sarah.
Ashley Dalton from Adore – the business opposite Linda’s in Gordon Road – also finds Yellowbellys’ treats irresistible.
“I am not actually vegan or vegetarian, but her cakes are some of the best I have ever tasted It is amazing what Linda produces to suit people with special dietary needs.”
Lincoln Business Improvement Group (Lincoln BIG) Chief Executive Matt Corrigan congratulated Linda on her success.
“One of Lincoln’s best-kept secrets is its fabulous variety of niche shops, which perfectly complement the growing mix of national retailers in our expanding city,” he said.
“They add extra vibrance and balance to a place which is growing in importance as both a shopping and tourist destination.”