best-one Poets Corner and best-one Plessey News, situated in Housing Estate in UK, owner Shad Saleem honored with Spirit of the Community Award in the Asian Trader Awards 2019.
Shad Saleem says how a store-owner can become the spirit of the community.
“For me, it’s all about being woven into the community; a part of the fabric. A community can be diverse – a mix of people of different ages, jobs, families and it’s about connecting with all of them in some way. I think one of the ways I’ve managed to do this is I’ve never said no to ANY community support asked of me in the last 20 years”.
He says about the initiatives that he developed to benefit his local community in the last 12 months.
“Within our community there are children that come from families below the national poverty threshold who can’t always afford food and are being sent to school hungry. Through my involvement with The Rotary Club of Blyth we worked together with Malvin’s Close Primary Academy, where we created a Breakfast Club enabling 30 children to be given a proper breakfast and ‘set them up’ for the day. The school fed back that there is a close correlation between the success of children within the classroom and being well fed. We’re looking at expanding this initiative and I’d like to support this financially through the shops (my personal ambition is to ensure that no child in Blyth goes to school hungry)”.
He describes two key challenges facing Convenience and his plans for taking advantage.
“Blyth is inundated with retail shops; we have ALDI, Lidl, ASDA and many convenience stores. The challenge is to differentiate ourselves from everyone else. One way we do this is through stocking local products. Our eggs are delivered fresh daily from family-run Lintz Hall Eggs, our milk and fresh dairy comes from Hanover Dairies, our local green-grocer (John!) brings fresh, seasonal vegetables, and a local Blyth sandwich lady delivers delicious homemade sandwiches every day. Another challenge is ensuring we offer a quality range of products at competitive prices, as many customers are on a budget. We work closely with best-one to ensure we have a range of products at various price-points and also run monthly special offers”.
He lists three ways in which he have responded and retained footfall after a new discounter/supermarket opened in his catchment area.
“One way we’ve retained footfall is through our support of the community – we support local people, and in turn, they support us back. We face a lot of retailer competition but because we are at the heart of the community customers choose to shop with us. We’ve also utilised social media to engage with our customers. We now have 5,000 Facebook followers and promote our special offers and new products via our page. Lastly, we’ve introduced food-to-go options allowing us to capture lunch time footfall. This has bought new shoppers through our doors, as well as the same familiar faces”