CollectPlus stores | May 27th 2016

A Q&A with Sarah Thornewill of Leeds Uni Essentials, our ‘Store of the Quarter’

Essentials is at the very centre of student life in Leeds thanks to its location in the Student Union building. The staff at Essentials, including many students who work on a part-time basis, have now been awarded the prestigious national CollectPlus ‘Store of the Quarter’ award. This recognises their achievement as the best store in the CollectPlus network, scoring an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars between January and March 2016.

We caught up with Sarah Thornewill, assistant store manager, to find out more and to ask how it feels to win the CollectPlus ‘Store of the Quarter’ award…

Our CEO Neil Ashworth presents Leeds Uni Essentials assistant Store Manager Sarah Thornewill with the award.

Q. Tell us a bit about Essentials, and your experience of managing this successful business.

A. Essentials is completely independent as we are owned and run by the Leeds Student Union, a registered charity, and all profits from the store are returned to our students. This could be anything from buying new sports equipment to providing more funding for the Student Advice Centre.

We stock all the essentials that students might need to pick up while at the Student Union, including grab and go food, hot drinks, toiletries and stationery. We also employ lots of students on a part time basis which we find works really well as, for obvious reasons, they have a great understanding of our customers.

Q. How has the CollectPlus service helped you to grow your business?

A. As part of the Student Union, Essentials is here to provide useful services to the students that help make their lives easier and CollectPlus is a fantastic service for us to have in the mix. We find that it brings a lot of extra shoppers into the store, and that people often buy additional items when they pick up and drop off their parcels. Students tend to use the service for Click & Collect items, particularly fashion brands such as ASOS to keep them looking super stylish on campus.

Q. There are over 5,800 newsagents, convenience stores and petrol stations in the CollectPlus network, so how does it feel to have been named the UK’s best CollectPlus store?

A. We were very pleased to win, the good news came as quite a surprise – we know that we have huge numbers of parcels coming through the store, but it’s fantastic that the award recognises excellent customer service. The award means a lot to us because it’s based on positive feedback from our shoppers. The motto of the Student Union is “Helping you love your time at Leeds” and all our staff work very hard to live up to that, so it’s really great that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed!

Q. What are you plans for the future?

A. The whole Student Union is just about to be significantly upgraded, which will give us more space on the shop floor as well as more natural light to make shopping at Essentials an ever more enjoyable experience than it already is. We’re looking forward to showing off our new store once the work is finished – you’ll have to come back and visit us again! Other than that we’ll just carry on as we have been doing, working hard to provide great services to our students to make their lives easier.

May 27th 2016 - by @CollectPlus