D H BARFORD and Company is a name familiar to shoppers on many Huntingdonshire high streets, but very few of them will ever have had dealings with the firm. Yet the company has been a well-known name in the district for more than 30 years, and without its activities shopping centres would look rather different. Every time a shop changes hands, companies such as Barfords - chartered surveyors who specialise in handling sales and lettings of shops and other commercial premises - are vital intermediaries. Although the wider public might know them only from their "for sale" or "to let" boards, they are so fundamentally part of the high street that they have been sponsoring the Retailer of the Year prize in The Hunts Post Business Awards for nine of the 10 years they have been a highlight of the district's business year. Barfords director Martin Page said: "We are so closely involved with the high street that it was natural that we should want to sponsor the retailer category. We are the leading agency for letting and selling shops in the area. "We think it's good, not just for business but for the district, that the public should become aware of the successful businesses in the area." D H Barford and Company was founded in 1974 by David Barford, who is retired but acts as a consultant. The partnership became a limited company in November 2004. Its 10 professional staff include five chartered surveyors and two chartered town planners. "Huntingdonshire is our core area, though we also operate in neighbouring counties, such as Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and the rest of Cambridgeshire," Mr Page said. "We sell and let all types of commercial buildings, such as warehouses, factories and shops, and provide a full planning service from advice to handling planning applications and appeals for all developments.