Heading up a busy Woolworths store of over 390 staff in the middle of a global pandemic is certainly not easy.
But one Woolworths manager not only managed this but incredibly now knows his customers on a first-name basis.
Dale Hodgson heads up the Woolworths store in Carrum Downs in Victoria, but his amazing rapport with customers makes him far from an average store manager.
During the pandemic, he actually got to know the majority of his regular customers on a first-name basis.
A trait that most busy store managers simply don't have time for, he still now generously takes the time to stop and have a friendly one-on-one chat with them when they visit the store.
Dale, who was recently recognised as Woolworths Store Manager of the Year, made a particular effort to get to know his customers during the Covid-19 pandemic because everyone was going through a really tough time.
“At one point during the pandemic where we’d stand at the door and slowly allow customers in, myself and the team would chat with some of our most vulnerable customers, which allowed us to better understand their needs during their next visit,” he recently told Yahoo News.
“We really got to know our customers on a deeper level. In particular, Wendy, Raylene and Ruth who work at our service desk and connected with our regulars the most and continue to converse on a first-name basis.”
Apart from having this lovely, yet rare, rapport with his customers, the dad of six – soon to be seven – is also humble.
“I certainly do not go to work to get this sort of recognition. It’s all credit to the whole Carrum Downs team,” he says.
“I like to think I have the easiest job in the world thanks to the team members and leaders I get to work with everyday.”
Customers notice the difference
The hard work of Dale and the team certainly doesn’t go unnoticed either, with a customer recently commenting on his presence in the store.
“Your store is my local and I must admit the store has never looked better, it's always full, looks sharp and your team are always motivated!” the customer said.
Dale is also known for sending thank you cards to local farmers for their hard work during the pandemic and donating fresh fruit, veg and sausages for barbecues at local community events.
The Store Manager of the Year award was recently presented to Dale after going through a robust selection process following a nomination from his co-workers.
“I’ve known Dale for quite some time and his passion for excellence is well recognised,” Melissa Micallef, Group Manager at Woolworths Supermarkets said.
“Dale is a really genuine, nice guy and his level-headed approach to leadership and positive influence ripples through the team as he strives to bring a little good to those around him, everyday.”
More incredibly kind acts by Woolies staff
This isn't the first time a Woolworths employee has been pointed out for their exceptional efforts in helping customers.
Earlier this month, a Woolies staffer at a store in Queensland was praised for going "above and beyond" to help out a shopper in a difficult situation.
Sharing her gratitude in a post on the Woolworths Facebook Page, the shopper wrote about Vicky from the Logan store, just south of Brisbane.
“Today, while I was using the self serve checkouts my daughter was being a little miss fussy pants,” she said.
“Vicky held her for me and still went on with her job greeting other customers and assisting them,” the thankful shopper wrote. “It made my life easier.”
The mum, who was so appreciative of the helping hand at the checkout, told Yahoo News the staff member was "absolutely amazing!"
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