The Original Factory Shop, West Street, Haslemere
I am proud of our store and my amazing team for many reasons.
We are the smallest store in our company but we have the biggest heart. When I joined the store two years ago I wanted to take the store and team on a journey, that journey was to become part of our local community, for customers, local causes and highlighting what the town has to offer to create a strong retail environment for all. To do this the team needed to embraced the vision I have for the store. This meant changing the way we interacted with our customers and the way we were perceived in the local retail community. Haslemere has a proud heritage of independent traders so we were different from the norm by being part of a bigger company. We have change the opinion of other retailers within the community and they can see our vision and our now wanting to work with us to make haslemere a healthy retail hub.
With the right training and given the chance to build individual confidence the team has gone from one of delivering standard service to now have our customers pop in to tell us what a happy environment it is to shop in and that interacting with all the staff is like meeting up with a friend. From this we have built a great rapport with fellow retailers in the town as if we can’t fulfil a customers request we will recommend a local business in the town who can. From this we have launched our business to business incentive where each month we do mutual partnerships to help drive businesses in the community, from something as simple as a store leaflet exchange we can encourage new customers into both businesses.
We then chose to take it a step further and introduced our sell it Sundays, where we invite a local maker, artisan or small craft business into the store to showcase their business, our customers get the opportunity to then shop local even more, with a small business which has its roots firmly rooted in the local area.
We launched our charity partnership, where we support local charities, this year it’s the community kit bag which allows access to sport no matter what your economical background but also promotes mental health through sport. One of our proudest moments with the store has to have been the success of the food bank drive, following us trialling this at the store the company felt that this was something they could embrace in every store, so because of the work we do now, every store in the business has a donation station for charities in their specific communities. The team are so proud to be the driving force for this having become a company wide project.
Without my amazing team none of this would be possible every single one of them has embraced my vision and changes with such passion that it’s very humbling. They step up and hold the shop together when I go out to other stores to share our vision of community retailing and how it can not only build community but build our businesses.
We are one of the major go to stores in our community now, from donating to local day centres, supplying mens mental health meetings with their tea coffee and biscuits. To the little old lady who pops in just for a chat once a week, that feels part of the community again since emerging from lockdown. Every day with every member of the team we strive to make a difference, in our own individual way. For that I couldn’t be more proud. Pride in what you do isn’t just about it being a word it’s a feeling created in our team that echoes through to the customers. We are proud and love showing the improvements we have made in the store over the past few years. It’s made us stronger and is continuing to future-proof our business each and every day.
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