AN award-winning business is opening its first new store of 2024 in Malvern on Friday.

COOK, which sells frozen meals and puddings that are handmade in its kitchens in Kent and Somerset, will move into Malvern Shopping Park off Roman Way with 10 new jobs created and recruitment ongoing.

Martin Lawrence, who runs Malvern-based support group Zest4Life Conversation and Laughter, has been chosen to help open the new shop at Unit POD1 which will be the company's 98th.

Brand director Claire Postans explained: "When we open a new shop, we ask the local community to nominate a local hero to come along and join us on opening day.

"We’ve had a fantastic response from the lovely people of Malvern and are excited to say that Martin, founder of Zest4Life Conversation and Laughter, will be joining us to open the shop as we throw open the doors of our 98th shop.

"Martin is doing great things for the Malvern community, bringing people together to talk and laugh, tackling isolation and loneliness through human interaction.

"We hope to be able to support this initiative, and others like it, in the town that we’re now very happy to be calling a home."

Claire continued: "We were one of the UK’s first B corps (part of the global movement of responsible businesses) and last year were voted as the number one food and drink brand to work for (by UK employee engagement specialist Best Companies).

"Opening a shop in an established retail park provides the convenience of ample parking for customers and we will also have our home delivery van working getting out into the local community, delivering shopping to our customers."

The ribbon will be cut at 9am at the opening on Friday with the shop serving hot and cold tasters through the day.

The first 100 customers will get a COOK jute bag.

Opening hours for the shop, which used to be home to Toolstation, will be 9am until 7pm from Monday to Friday, 9am until 6pm on Saturdays and 10.30am until 4.30pm on Sundays.

Kent-based COOK, an independent, family-owned company, was founded in 1997 by Edward Perry and Dale Penfold.

It was also recognised with a Speciality Retailer of the Year award by Retail Week in 2023.