The shop fitters have started work in my new Family Shopper store at 180, Main Street in High Blantyre. I can now announce that my opening day is going to be 15th November. This is a week longer than I had originally anticipated and will give everyone involved in delivering the store time to ensure that everything will be absolutely right when the customers see the store for the first time.

Soon after the shop fitters arrived on site and started to layout the shop floor I could see that there was going to be a problem with the area in front of the counter. On recognising this I called a stop to the work of building the sales floor gondolas and called in the shop fitter contract manager and our Family Shopper rep, John Mahon.

We were able to agree the alteration to the layout that will overcome the bottleneck that I was concerned about. Booker’s store development team delivered our new plan the following day and fitting out of the shop floor was able to be restarted.

The builders have been on site for several weeks and have been able to avoid any impact on the local community. That was until they started improving the car park in front of the store.

This required them to park on the road side for a few days and I regret to say that I received a small number of complaints.

I have tried to ensure that our impact on our new potential customers has been kept to a minimum during the transformation of the former hotel and I have been delighted with the comments from the vast majority of people that I have met outside the new store.

They have been telling me that they are looking forward to coming to shop with us.

A key component to the success of any business are its employees and a big part of getting my new store right from opening day will be down to training my new team well.

All the members of the new team have been given a copy of my Employee Handbook so that they will know what is expected of them. 

They have also been given a training workbook that covers the basic level of skill and knowledge that they will need to have from the day we open.

Most of the training will take place in the new store and this will include Family Shopper style layout and merchandising, store process and most importantly the age restricted products and alcohol. Scottish retailers face a very different licensing regime to England and Wales.

Our standards go beyond what the law requires. I am very aware of the social responsibility that comes with operating in a deprived community and my employees need to understand this too.  

The customer service element of the training programme is being undertaken at my Coatshill Avenue store. I need to see that my new team really understand what I am asking them to do before we open the store.

So with the staff recruited and under training, the shop being fitted out and the builders almost completed I am looking forward to getting the sales floor filled with stock and ready for business.