The run-up to Christmas is always a hectic time and this year has certainly been no exception! This will be our first Christmas with the second store in Markethill and the pressure is starting to build. We’re running loads of in-store promotions which are helping to drive traffic, and the staff have been busy decorating.

Another element that is really helping to spread some festive cheer is our Christmas post box to Santa, an initiative which we are now running in both stores.

It started off as a small project but it has grown and grown and this year has been the most popular yet. It’s a wonderful idea and creates lots of excitement, but also lots of work for me as I personally reply to each and every child’s letter. It’s not a generic response either. If I commit to something I give it my all and so I take the time to craft a meaningful reply.

If truth be told some of them have actually been quite difficult for me this year as we have had an increase in letters from children simply asking for basic things such as food on the table instead of presents, which I’ve found quite heart-breaking.

We have always supported our local food banks but we plan to boost it a bit more this year. It’s a small thing for us, but hopefully it could make a big difference to some of our local families.
And in addition to all the festive pressures we have also been busy finalising plans for a complete facelift of Markethill.

We have been working hard with our architect to finalise the plans, which we hope to be able to submit to Building Control at the end of this month. We are very excited about what we have produced so far and if we receive approval we will have a state-of-the art convenience store which will boast a wide array of up-to-date services to make shopping convenient and enjoyable for our shoppers.

The plans have taken time to create and it’s at times challenging, but key is having the right team around us. If we had three or more stores we would be forced to employ managers, but so far we are doing it all with the help of an excellent group of employees.

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