Most people would know the famous P’s of retail – Price, Product, Packaging and Promotions. However, Tim Bastin has a different set – People, Passion, Pride and Perseverance. It’s this second set which must be mastered in order to get the most out of a career, he told Supermarket News.

With two parents in the retail industry, it was no surprise when Bastin took his first job at the age of 16, an after-school gig at Countdown New Plymouth. While enjoying business studies and economics at high school, he turned down the opportunity to study at tertiary level, instead choosing an on-the-job training role at Countdown as part of the Store Management Trainee program. “Coupled with the great team environment and amazing workmates I’ve had, this has been the only industry and company I’ve considered working in,” he said.

Bastin worked through the different assistant store manager roles before becoming store manager of Countdown Upper Hutt at the tender age of 23. After a big overseas trip (“Nowhere compares to home, although Portugal did come close”), he returned to work in Support Office in the space management team before beginning category management more than six years ago.

Bastin’s business manager role gives him a broader view and provides him with a platform to analyse more and consider different ways to approach challenges. This is helpful in an industry where change is constant. “Quite often you don’t realise you have taken a fresh approach to a work situation until you take the time to reflect on what has recently been achieved and how it was achieved,” he said.

While Bastin believes that there is still a stigma in New Zealand about choosing retail, and especially supermarkets, as a career, he acknowledged the work done by Countdown to recognise the potential in younger team members. “A relatively new graduate programme that has been doing a great job of developing a new talent pool,” he said. “My passion is seeing others achieve, so I’d like to continue to lead a team in the future.” Bastin is proud to have started his career at the store level, a foundation which will stick with him no matter what role he occupies. “Our customers' needs are not too difficult to understand,” he explained. “Getting the basics right covers most of them.”

Bastin’s current priority is being a great husband and dad to his two young daughters, with whom he spends as much time as possible. “It’s great to see them take on new experiences or to watch them learning and developing new skills.”