A CRAFT store in Blaenavon has been shortlisted for an award in “the Oscars of retail”.

Artie Craftie has been nominated and now shortlisted in Retail Industry Awards’ Independent Post Office Retailer of the Year, for a post office inside the craft store.

The shop also has a photography studio, laundry facilities, engraving and framing services.

Owners Nick, 57, and Wendy, 59, Horler moved to Blaenavon from Somerset to open the store after Mr Horler had visited few times and loved the town.

The couple have moved from strength to strength since opening its doors in 2014.

Artie Craftie has scooped national awards and recognition from the Welsh government as a highstreet hero.

Mr Horler said: “We are absolutely gobsmacked to be nominated and shortlisted for an award like this.

“Most other things that we’ve won have been directly from the Post Office, like their own awards.

“But the Retail Industry Awards are so prestigious. They’re literally the Oscar’s for retail. We’ve never been nominated for anything like this before. We are thrilled but absolutely gobsmacked.

“When you look at the other nominees in categories for these awards they are all the big players; Asda, Lidl, Tesco.

"Obviously we’re nominated for the best independent but the scale of the nomination really sunk in when Wendy and I got a bunch of flowers and they had the logo on. The flowers were from Asda - doesn’t that show how big the awards are?”

“But we are not unique in Blaenavon, we have lots of award winning businesses here. I just want to show people that if a little town halfway up a mountain can be recognised from a body like this anyone can.”

Mr Horler paid particular note to Blaenafon Cheddar Co who recently won an award at a dairy show in Cheshire.

“We don't have a business without the community. I just really want to stress that this all because of the community and for them,” he added.

The arts store had only been open a few months before the town’s post office announced it was closing, and when the shop next door to Artie Crafie became available, the pair decided to expand and take on the post office.

“We just didn’t want to see another vital community asset leave. The town already didn’t have a bank but there was absolutely no need for people here to have to travel to post a letter or withdraw cash,” Mr Horler said.

“We were actually knocked back the post office originally because they didn’t think a six-month-old business would be able to run one, but we appealed their decision and here we are.”

The post office also has full banking services, so residents can deposit and withdraw cash and cheques.

As well as being a local councillor, Mr Horler is also standing to represent the National Federation of Subpostmasters members council for Wales - another thing he was nominated for.

“We haven’t just created what we have, but the community has helped us do it. Our whole ethos is about giving back and that’s what I want to stress here. This award is not just good for us, but good for Blaenavon and the people who live here,” Mr Horler added.

Also nominated for Independent Post Office Retailer of the Year is East Finchley Post Office, London, and Envelope & Bacon, Edinburgh.

The couple will head to London on September 27 to the Retail Industry Awards ceremony to find out if they have won.