2015 is a year that will live long in the memory as one of success and achievement for both C T Baker Budgens of Aylsham and Holt.
Budgens of Holt began the year with an exclusive collaboration with the town’s Thurlow Nunn car dealership through which customers were provided a considerable saving on their fuel. Shoppers spending a minimum of £50 in-store were provided with a voucher that deducted 15p per litre on fuel purchased at the Thurlow Nunn forecourt. In so doing, our customers benefitted from a low-cost fuel price of 99.9p per litre — the UK’s cheapest BP fuel at that time! Such was the popularity of this promotion that the Holt store was featured on BBC Look East.
In February, the time arrived for Budgens of Holt to present its cheque to its chosen charity organisation of the year for 2014 — the East Anglian Air Ambulance. A cheque for £7,423.70 was presented to East Anglian Air Ambulance, thanks to a fantastic effort from the store staff who organised raffles, tombolas and cake sales to achieve its total throughout that year.In March, a cheque was also presented by C T Baker Budgens of Aylsham to its chosen charity for 2014, Girl Guiding, Aylsham Branch. The store raised a total of £5,297.49, which was handed to District Commissioner, Rachel Sidell, by Jane Gurney-Read, Director of C T Baker Group and Shane Woolston, Budgens Aylsham Store Manager. Much like Budgens of Holt, the Aylsham store worked tirelessly to raise its record breaking total through tombolas, raffles, cake sales, bag packing, customer contributions and different fundraising initiatives that took place almost every week. For 2015, the store chose Squirrels Residential Breaks for Children — an Aylsham based organisation that provides residential short breaks within a homely environment for children with complex health needs. Similarly, Budgens of Holt selected Dogs for the Disabled as its charitable cause for 2015.
Also in March, Budgens of Holt was privileged to be announced as a finalist at the Musgrave Store of the Year awards. Both Holt and Aylsham stores were also shortlisted as finalists within the Community Store of the Year category.
The month of May was one of awards and recognition for Budgens of Holt’s local suppliers thanks to the store’s annual Local Supplier ceremony at the Feathers Hotel. Prior to taking over Budgens of Holt in 2007, the store stocked only a few locally produced goods. Yet, by May 2015, Budgens of Holt had supported around 39 local suppliers, spending over £792,000 to buy in such produce for its customers. The winner of the Local Supplier award was announced by Managing director, Michael Baker, as Comerways Nursery of Wissington, a business that continues to supply the store with a variety of tomatoes. A raffle was also held during the evening with proceeds going towards Budgens of Holt’s 2015 charity.
The fundraising continued into the summer as Budgens of Aylsham held a charity car wash in its customer car park, raising £122.50 on the day.
A hark back to Britain at war was on the agenda as the Holt Salute the Forties weekend arrived on the 19th and 20th of September. Although wartime was synonymous for its food rationing, there were no holds barred at Budgens of Holt as all members of staff dressed in period costume and participated in events at the store and around Holt. Within the store, a raffle and 1940s sweet shop were in place, as was a tea shop stocking everything from tins of Spam, to Colman’s Mustard and tea rations. Customers could also sample the delights of C T Baker Bitter — a drink produced in commemoration of Holt’s heroes of the 1940s.
October was truly a month to savour at Budgens of Aylsham as its in-store Post Office was heralded as Post Office of the Year at the retail industry’s ‘Oscars’, the Retail Industry Awards. Recognised for its superb customer service and role at the heart of the community, the award was a fitting tribute to the Post Office and its staff, which was inherited following C T Baker Group having taken over Budgens of Aylsham in September 2013. “We converted to a main branch and embraced everything the Post Office could offer. Our business had never operated a Post Office before, but within a year we have won this award. It’s amazing what we’ve achieved by following the advice and guidance of the Post Office team,” remarked Finance Director and Postmaster, Duncan Baker.
A host of spooky special offers and ghoulish in-store events awaited customers to Budgens of Aylsham and Holt at Halloween. Both stores held tombolas and baked cakes and cupcakes for the event. Budgens of Aylsham staged a ‘Halloween Treasure Island’ competition encouraging young customers to guess the location of hidden treasure upon a map illustrated and supplied by a member of store staff. Over the span of the weekend, the Aylsham store alone raised a total of £523.86 for its charity!
A month later, Christmas was just on the horizon. Both C T Baker Budgens stores entered the festive community spirit by participating at their respective Christmas lights switch ons. Each store welcomed a host of local suppliers to their late night openings whereby customers were offered tastings and samples. Amongst Budgens of Holt’s suppliers were Norfolk Brewhouse, Drove Orchards, Candi’s Chutney and Broadland Hams. In attendance at Budgens of Aylsham, customers could find H.V. Graves Butchers, Norfolk’s Pie Man, the Norfolk Sloe Company, Kettle Chips, Woodfordes and Panther Brewery as well as others. “It was fantastic to have the support of our customers and suppliers on what proved to be a successful evening here at Budgens of Aylsham,” commented Store Manager, Shane Woolston on the night.
With a numerous award nominations and exciting developments in store, 2016 is sure to become yet another year of success an achievement for both C T Baker Budgens of Aylsham and Holt.
“When you actually stop and reflect upon everything we have accomplished this year, it is an incredible achievement. All the above wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and commitment from both teams at Budgens Aylsham and Holt. They are a credit to us all. Also, I would like to thank all our customers for their custom and support during 2015 and look forward to seeing you in 2016.” – Shane Woolston, Store Manager, C T Baker Budgens Aylsham.