It’s a big business trying to make a big difference

Tesco's community champion Anna-Marie Jenkinson and store manager Giles Baugh
Tesco's community champion Anna-Marie Jenkinson and store manager Giles Baugh

The company slogan is ‘every little helps’ but Tesco is doing a lot to make a better community in Bridlington.

The Bridlington store opened 26 years ago, has around 180 staff, is around 45,500 square feet and turns over tens of millions of pounds every year.

Meet the team; Lloyd Roscoe, Anna-Marie Jenkinson, Derek Burton, Giles Baugh, Nick Rumble

Meet the team; Lloyd Roscoe, Anna-Marie Jenkinson, Derek Burton, Giles Baugh, Nick Rumble

It welcomes 30,000 customers each week and that goes up 15% in the summer.

In charge of the store is manager Giles Baugh, whom I met last week as he was preparing for the inevitable busy Bank Holiday.

He said: “We have to look after the visitors as well as the locals. We are classed as a season store so we have to be responsive. I can’t keep soup on a promotion when it is 30C outside.”

Giles has worked for Tesco in 14 different countries across Europe, Asia and in America, and managed the Bridlington store for four years.

“My three priorities and customers, colleagues and community.

“It’s the little things that make a big difference. If I can do one thing that makes a difference to someone’s day, find that product they are looking for and get it in stock, help deal with a crying child or something that makes sure our colleagues are at their best, then I will.

“The best thing about working in a supermarket is the variety. You have routines and processes but also 30,000 different faces every week.”

The store is proud that it employs a community champion, Anna-Marie Jenkinson, who gives 100% of her time to getting out and a bout and finding out how Tesco can make a difference in Bridlington.

She said: “We have a partnership with a different charity every year and do various things to raise moent for them.

“In Bridlington we have done bush tucker trials, and cycled and ridden space hoppers.

“Last year, we raised £6,698, and we also donate to other charities with raffle prizes.

“I am going to Riding for the Disabled this afternoon, we recently painted a room at Bridlington Club for Young people and at Bridlington Gymnastics Club, and we worked at the gardens at Montague House in Quay Road which is for young people with accommodation problems.

“We have school groups and Rainbows, Brownies and Scout group as part of our Farm To Fork project and have had 769 children in to the store since last September.”

Perhaps, the most noticeable community project is the Bags of Help project, where shoppers are given tokens at the checkout and choose which of three local schemes they want Tesco to give financial help to.

The current competition will see thousands of pounds given to the Kingfisher Trust, Martongate Primary School and Dukes Park Bowls Club.

But Tesco gives away more than money. At the end of every day, unsold food is given to local causes, incluing the Kingfisher Trust, the Salvation Army and Christ Church.

They have donated 30,000 meals so far this year in the Bridlington store.

“Our aim is to make sure no food fit for human consumption goes to waste by the end of this year,” said Giles.

Other food is given to animal shelters while all cardboard and plastics are recycled and new lighting in store has helped to reduce its carbon footprint.

With plans to move to a bigger store on the coach park shelved, is there anything Giles would like to bring to the Bridlingtons tore?

“We get lots of people asking for a cafe, but Bridlington is full of cafes. If we open one, it won’t help the community.

“The same with pharmacies, Bridlington has plenty of them.

“I’d like to modernise the building, but I understand that if we spent £500,000 making it look better, that would be instead of taking that money off the prices, and we’d rather customers had the better prices.”

Things will change and ‘scan and shop’ is set to arrive in the not-too-distant future, although it is interesting that around 50% of all transactions at the store at baskets of 10 items or less.

“Shopping habits are changing,” said Giles. “We’ve gone from a store where people did their main weekly shop to a top up shop where people call in a few times a week. But we are just here to serve Bridlington shoppers a little better every day.