Coombes’ passion for the British high street shone through in her entry, as she described the hyper-local partnerships she has forged with other retailers.
For example, customers waiting to inflate balloons for an event can simply walk to the cafe next door, say “balloons” and receive 10% off their order.
Although it is one of the smaller Original Factory Shop stores, an approach to charity partnerships piloted and developed at its store has now been adopted nationally.
This means The Original Factory Shop has developed hundreds of local charity partnerships targeting the areas around their stores.
“I’ve always believed that we were the smallest store with the biggest heart,” says Coombes. “Winning the Proud of My Store award this month really puts the icing on the cake. My team has worked so hard and we are delighted to be recognized.
“The heart of retail is people – not just the customers you serve, but the people who work in your store.”
“I’m proud to work for a brand that has allowed me to invest so much time and effort into my team. If they thrive, my store thrives, and then we can help our community thrive. Everybody wins !”
“As a manager, I strive to motivate my team by example – if I’m positive and optimistic, my team will be too, and so will the way we treat our customers.”
“This ripple effect is incredibly powerful. It’s the same when it comes to our charitable partners – what’s a small gesture for us can have a huge effect in our community. As retailers, I believe we have a duty to give back. It’s always humbling to see how far a little kindness can go.
Oliver Peck, Brand and Customer Director of The Original Factory Shop, says: “We are a national company made up of over 180 local businesses, so to see Karen and her team at our Haselmere branch receive the Proud of My award This month’s store is a big recognition of how they serve the local community.
“This branch is committed to serving the community in everything it does, whether it’s a local food bank drive, inviting local makers into stores, or having tea and drinks. cookies with customers.”
“As Karen says, they are the smallest TOFS store, but they have the biggest hearts and that includes donating prizes to the local food bank and their charity partner, The Community Kit Bag. Fingers crossed for the finale.
Proud of my store was founded in 2021. The online hub 2022 opened in the spring and nearly 300 registrations came from supermarkets, boutiques, pharmacies, large retailers and small community stores.
Three monthly winners were selected, all of whom won luxury baskets to share with the team and a donation to the store’s favorite charity.
With the contest now closed, a global team is set to be crowned Proudest Store 2022 at an event in September.
Nicolas Hammer, co-founder and CEO of Critizr, said, “This entry is a shining example of how important local stores are to their community. Not only does Karen create a wonderful environment for her customers and her team, but her business-to-business collaboration helps create a thriving shopping street for everyone.
“That’s not to mention his fantastic approach to charity partnerships, which has now been adopted nationally by The Original Factory Store.”
“Small gestures really add up to big change and this store demonstrates the power of local to do good. Congratulations to Karen, her team and the entire The Original Factory Store team.”