Recently my dad Malcolm received a Lifetime Achievement Award at one of the national awards events. The award was in recognition of 30 years of service not just to our customers but also to the wider community.  This allowed us the opportunity for some PR with our local newspaper, which brought a wave of congratulations.

I see our community and our stores’ place within it as a key element of our success.  Last year we helped Year 6 children at a local school get the most out of one of their key years in education by helping set up a breakfast club with the assistance of one of our key suppliers. This was able to happen because we see our suppliers and manufacturers as part of our community. A year on, the club is working well and we continue to support it.

When we heard that another local primary was going to fund new sports kit from funds raised by their PTA we offered to sponsor the football kit – if the PTA found a sponsor for their netball kit too. We made them think differently about how the money they raise is used.

There is a forecourt in front of our store and we regularly hold the local Police Neighbourhood Watch caravan. This gives our community and the Police the chance to talk about local issues in a friendly environment.  As I mentioned in a previous article, we also run a summer barbecue and a Christmas party in front of the store. We involve suppliers and up to 300 customers in the events; it’s our way of saying thank you to our community.

We believe showing respect to be extremely important.  The community is like the ripples you get when you throw a stone into a pond – starting with a small circle in the centre and spreading outwards. Great staff are at the centre, then the local community and on the outside are our suppliers and trade partners.

Finally I believe that to be the best in our business I have to take time to go to trade events. I always make the effort to attend whenever I have the opportunity! It shows respect to the trade that enables us to make a living and is a refreshing and highly useful experience. Manufacturers have got to know us and have become our partners by sharing their vast expertise with our business – a big prize for our community.

Our key Actions for great Community Service:

  • Get out of your shop and interact with schools, clubs and local authorities
  • Think outside the box!
  • Thank your customers by doing something different, such as holding community events
  • Show respect to everyone in store by operating to a high standard and employing the very best practice.