In the July edition of Checkout, we celebrated the retail management, staff, wholesalers and manufacturers who kept the shelves stocked during the global pandemic. Checkout was extremely proud to showcase those retailers and suppliers who went above and beyond to keep the nation fed - and to highlight individual retail heroes in supermarkets and convenience stores around the country
With the recent movement of the country back to Level 3 restrictions, a vaccine to be rolled out in 2021, and the festive period to celebrate, there is a lot more optimism in the country.
However, frontline workers are continuing to serve their customers, their local communities, and crucially, the most vulnerable in our society, during these unprecedented times.
Ireland’s supermarkets were quick to respond to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it was prioritising the grocery needs of the elderly or frontline health workers, introducing an online shopping, click and collect, or home delivery service, or rolling out safety measures to protect staff and customers.
Ireland’s larger supermarkets provided a terrific service, but for many of our society’s most vulnerable and elderly, the service offered by their local and small convenience store in the early days of the lockdown was more appealing, and perhaps less intimidating, than the prospect of a large store with long queues and a barrage of necessary, but overwhelming, signage.
In their local store they could talk to familiar faces behind the till and on the shop floor, and avail of a personal service that many of these stores were happy to roll out for their regular customers.
Every Little Helps
Many of Ireland’s biggest grocery retailers, including Tesco, embarked on nationwide recruitment drives to ensure that they could cope with the increased demand during the pandemic - and to offer a much-needed lifeline to those workers who had lost their jobs in other sectors of the economy.
This resulted in the recruitment of some exceptional retail personnel like Liz Jacob of Tesco Oranmore in Co Galway and Jason Dunphy of Tesco Wilton in Cork, who started working in Tesco Wilton during the start of the pandemic through the Tesco Family and Friends recruitment drive.
Speaking to Checkout in July, he said: “Tesco is doing everything they can, and more, to help those most vulnerable during the crisis ... I love working in Tesco – it has helped me a lot during the pandemic and it is great knowing that they look out for their current and former colleagues.”
Leading By Example
Excellent leadership skills are a vital part of any managerial role, and during the first COVID-19 lockdown, those skills were put to the test like never before.
Checkout turned the spotlight on two retail managers – Cliona Wallace, store manager, Aldi Glanmire and Donal Egan, regional logistics manager in Lidl’s Charleville, Cork distribution centre – who inspired their teams and kept staff morale high.
Donal Egan and his hardworking team went the extra mile to provide outstanding service to Lidl’s customers.
“Being in the warehouse you don’t always get to meet the customers face-to-face, but when I am in the store and see our team with their great energy and attitude towards the customers it is fantastic,” he said.
“We are extremely proud to support our local communities during what is a very challenging time for many people.”
Supporting Customers And Colleagues
Dealz opened three new stores in Dublin, Cork and Donegal on 16 July, bringing its portfolio in Ireland to 100 stores and creating over 75 jobs. Retail country manager Olivia McLoughlin says customers had “fallen in love with the wider ranges at Dealz during lockdown.”
Dealz area sales managers Martin Byrnes and Mark Croskery talked to Checkout about some extra special team members who played their part in the love affair, including Claire O’Sullivan, sales assistant, Killarney, Lauralee Craig, store manager, Cavan, Helen Garvin, store manager, Mullingar, and Rebecca Gaye, store manager, Cavan/Longford.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Maev Martin. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.