A small Four Square store in suburban Auckland has pipped its bigger brand brothers to win Foodstuffs North Island’s 2017 Store of the Year. Four Square Ellerslie won top honours at the cooperative’s annual awards dinner at Auckland Museum on Friday, 11 August. Around 200 owner-operators, support staff and partners attended the awards, after the cooperative’s annual meeting earlier in the day.
Four Square Ellerslie’s owner-operator, Lin Guo, took to the stage twice, first to accept the award for best Four Square, then to receive the grand title.
Doug Cochrane, General Manager Retail, Foodstuffs North Island Ltd, said the 200 square metre store at the heart of a popular suburban town centre, was the judges’ clear favourite.
“From the incredibly high standards to its impressive range, all driven by what will help his customers get more out of life, Four Square Ellerslie is a store run by an owner who understands that the culture Lin creates with his team is what will set his store apart,” said Cochrane.
“Lin also understands there is great opportunity from being part of our co-operative, and takes every opportunity to get involved and learn. Despite being involved in lots of training outside his store he has managed to keep up the high standards that have helped him clinch this prestigious award.”
Lin Guo accepted the award on behalf of his team and suppliers, without whom he says there would be no store, “I know it sounds a little cliché but this award really belongs to everyone at Four Square Ellerslie.”
“I was shell shocked on the night to receive this accolade in front of so many senior industry leaders. Being part of such a successful organisation keeps me driven. And the support we receive is enabling a new generation of grocers to ensure we always do our best for the communities we serve,” says Guo.
Other award winners for the separate brand banners in the North Island are:
- PAK’nSAVE Store of the Year 2017: PAK’nSAVE Albany (Auckland)
- New World Store of the year 2017: New World Eastridge (Auckland)
- Gilmours Store of the year 2017: Gilmours Central (Palmerston North)
“Our six-step judging process includes scoring stores on service, quality, fullness, cleanliness, price and performance, before the finalists are visited by judges. It is of the utmost integrity,” said Cochrane.
“That said, I’m pleased Auckland didn’t take all the big awards, with Gilmours Central being recognised for its consistent delivery of operational excellence. Feedback from customers is great and this store is a standout example for the Gilmours banner.”
Six store’s fresh food departments were also recognised for exemplary standards and service:
- Bakery: New World Wellington City
- Butchery: New World Whakatane
- Produce: New World Eastridge
- Seafood: New World Howick
- Delicatessen: PAK’nSAVE Westgate
And two special awards recognised supplier relationships and commitment to the co-operative.
“The Supplier Relationship Award went to New World Matamata, based on feedback provided by 325 sales reps from over 40 suppliers. New World Matamata topped the scoring on eight attributes ranging from Health and Safety through to commitments to maintain stock levels throughout promotions.”
“The final gong of the night was the Co-Operative Spirit Award, which was given to Peter Anderson for his outstanding service as the Board Chair, a position he has held since the merger. Before that he was on the Wellington Board and has owned PAK’nSAVE Kapiti with Glen Taylor since 2005.”
“Both Peter Anderson and Lin Guo represent the best of our business and the industry at large, giving 110 percent to all they do, for the benefit of their customers, staff, community and cooperative.”
“I commend them and all of this year’s winners for earning the recognition they undoubtedly deserve,” concludes Cochrane.