Duncan Brown and his Beacon Isle team continues to set the standard in customer service after being named Eastern Cape KWIKSPAR of the Year at the recent awards function at the Mpekweni resort near Port Alfred.
It is the second year in a row that the retail outlet in Piesang Valley in Plettenberg Bay have scooped the award, which Brown described as “a fantastic honour”.
He said they would continue to aim for the highest standards possible as they were ultimately targeting the national award.
“With those high goals we need to maintain excellent standards in our store,” said Brown. “But, having said that, we wouldn’t be any different if there wasn’t an award.
“Our staff love their store and their customers. We are proud of what we offer and the manner in which we do it.”
He added it was “great recognition” for his staff, who always went the extra mile for their customers.
Brown – who said their recipe for success was putting the customer first – said they had been optimistic of being in line for the award, but knew there would be strong competition from other stores in the province.
“This is our biggest focus so all our attention is on the customer. But it starts with fresh, well presented products and a very neat and clean store.
“Customers are then wowed with the service offering as well, so their shopping experience is pleasurable and not a hassle.”
In the current economic climate, Brown said there were always challenges, while they also had to deal with the fluctuations in spend as Plett was essentially a holiday town.
“The economy is bad, but we are growing nicely and to keep up growth in these times is hard.
“Gross profit is under pressure with everyone fighting for the same spend so we need to focus on keeping our expenses as low as possible to remain profitable.
“Being in a holiday town also has its cash flow challenges, but we have learnt to manage this over the past 14 years.”
He said receiving awards such as this benefited them as it made their customers feel special to have their store voted the best.
“They actually brag about it!”
As the owner of KWIKSPAR Beacon Isle, Brown said his attention was on caring for his staff to ensure their operation continued to progress.
“I treat them how I want them to treat our customers so they will look after the customers in the same manner.”
Given SPAR’s philosophy of giving back to the community, Brown said they were involved in a wide spectrum of initiatives to support that principle.
“There are too many to mention, but we are tremendously involved in charity work and general sponsorship. We try support the underprivileged as much as possible and we have raised R700 000 for the firefighters who kept us alive during the recent fires.
“And that is why I work. I love to help others and there is no better feeling than giving.”