With the building work nearing its end after the inevitable delays that renovating an old building brings, we have been turning our attention to staffing ready for the time the store does finally open.

We were keen from the outset to gauge what level of interest there would be in the locality for full- and part-time work. As the village is not very big, I was quite apprehensive as to what response we would receive. A small, simple advert at the till point requesting customers or their next of kin register their interest surprisingly yielded a great response.

Importantly, the responses were from all ages, something that is, in my opinion, crucial with the impending living wage and other cost factors.

Before rushing through all the applications, we were mindful to engage with our existing team. Empowering them to help us shortlist the applicants and tapping into their local knowledge made the process much easier. Offering them the chance to choose shifts from a new timetable also helped further strengthen their commitment.

Given the overrun in works, it was a relief that nearly all of the shortlisted candidates are still keen and nearly all successfully interviewed for the various shifts.

Training is next on the agenda. Having developed many of the training manuals, systems and processes in-house over the years, the task of training the new team members will not be as daunting. For example, as we will be utilising the Costcutter epos system, new members will travel to our nearby Bromsgrove store where they will be partnered with an experienced member of staff. Experiencing the system in a real working environment will be a big plus when they are ready to work in the new store.

It will be interesting to see how they all fit in. Ensuring we demand high standards from the off will stand us in good stead over the coming months. After all, how employees execute our vision and standards is vital for the success of any store. The key difference between an average store and a top store is the level of commitment and quality of the people we employ, and just as important is the training and mentoring we give them.