A CHERISHED family-run hardware shop showed independent traders how to successfully do-it-yourself after being voted one of the top ten stores of its type in the country.

Hunts of Marlow has been providing the town with its nuts, bolts, paint, tools, gardening equipment and general DIY solutions for 18 years.

And after growing from small roots in 1996 to open its cavernous Station Road outlet seven years ago, loyal customers have showed their appreciation by voting Hunts into fourth place in the Daily Telegraph’s list of the UK's top 20 DIY stores.

Co-owner Richard Hunt said: "At first, we honestly thought it was a hoax, but then we called the paper and they verified it and that’s when the excitement kicked in.

"I can’t believe we came in fourth, and you look down the list and we’re ahead of all these major players like Homebase.

"It is good news for the town too, as there is a lot of doom and gloom out there at the moment with shops closing down.

"We have definitely got a loyal customer base. It is a family business and we treat our customers like friends.

"We always say we don’t have customers, we have friends. We’re over the moon to be recognised."

Richard and Sylvia Hunt run the store with their son Jason, with the parents now in semi-retirement.

The business has grown from a small shop in Spittal Street in 1996, with the family soon taking on a second premises at the other side of the road.

But logistical problems forced the Hunts to look for a larger, more suitable home, which they found in their current Station Road building, previously home to an antiques shop.

The Marlow business community has welcomed the news, with Marlow Chamber of Trade president Tim Graham paying tribute to the unique service on offer.

Secretary Jo Braybrooke said: "It’s really good news about Hunts, it just shows that independents have their place in Marlow still.

"Service with a smile has to be worth a lot as it makes you return to local shops."