A lot’s happened since my last column. We finished the refurbishment of our new store in Henfield, West Sussex, at the end of February. Since then we have had great customer reaction and sales have been very encouraging. 

We worked with Budgens to create some unique local marketing, telling the community about our family and how we are committed to engaging within them. It’s been amazing to see how many customers already knew about us and our store in Hassocks, and we have been constantly asked about when we are going to start running community projects in Henfield. When you operate in your own bubble you can forget quite how easy it can be for goodwill to spread.

We are still getting used to the reality of running two stores and I find a lot of my time is being spent getting our new store to operate like the Hassocks one. It is a theme that I spoke about at the recent Budgens conference. It is very tempting to try to do things differently in the new store, but keep things simple and keep things the same is my new motto. If a procedure, works well in Hassocks, it will work in Henfield, too. 

What has been rewarding to watch is how the team in both stores has stepped up, particularly in Hassocks. Many of them have been coming over on a regular basis to support the team at Henfield, and they have grown in confidence before my eyes. 

As retailers we can focus a lot of time on everyday issues, but the satisfaction I have gained from seeing this over the past few weeks has been incredibly humbling and reinforced my belief in ensuring that all of our teams, however big or small, are appreciated.