Kath's store is a breath of Thresher air

SHEFFIELD shopkeeper Kath Costello knows exactly what makes her customers tick.

Tuesday, 9th October 2007, 7:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd October 2007, 8:33 am

Whether it’s selling milk by the pint from local cows, or introducing a cashback facility so they don’t have to trek to the nearest bank, Kath is clued up on what makes excellent customer service.

That’s why she has been named one of the UK’s top 12 franchisees for her business - The Local convenience store in Halifax Road, Wadsley Bridge.

Mum-of-two Kath, aged 49, joined off-licence chain Thresher Group as a part-time sales assistant 22 years ago, when she was struggling to make ends meet during the miners’ strike.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Now she is the company’s best-performing franchisee, with one of the most successful stores in a group made up of 1,900 managed and franchised shops.

Kath, who lives in Woodlands, Doncaster, took on the franchise eight years ago and believes her success is down to giving her customers what they want at the same time as providing service with a smile.

She said: “Good customer service is really important and it’s great to get recognition for that.

“All the girls in the shop are local, so a lot of the customers know the staff on a personal basis, which is nice, and there’s always a warm welcome for everyone.

“I have been in shops where staff cannot even be bothered to look at you. The good atmosphere here really helps, I think, it makes such a difference.”

Over the years examples of Kath’s award-winning service have included increasing fridge and freezer capacity to cater for people wanting more choice of ready-meals, and beating the supermarkets by staying open longer and offering more chilled drinks.

Because she understood that her store was located in a low-income area, she even allowed single bottles of wine to be sold at the multi-buy rate, when Threshers introduced one of their ‘three for two’ offers.

Kath, who was also nominated for a Responsible Retailer Award in recognition of her unique service, said she was over the moon to be named as one of the country’s top 12 franchisees.

She added: “The ceremony was lovely and, although I didn’t win, it was a great honour to be named as one of the top 12.

“We will be getting a plaque for the shop and there’s a mystery prize from Threshers which we’re excited about seeing!

“All the customers have been great too - really interested in it and wanting to see photos of the do.

“They said they come back because they love it here and they don’t need an award to tell them that, which is lovely.”