Pete Basnett - Sainsburys Manager
Pete Basnett - Dartmouth Sainsbury's Manager
Pete Basnett looks around the Dartmouth Sainsbury’s store, turns to me and says: “It’s a bit daunting, but the staff here are so determined to be the best, that they are a pleasure to manage.”
Taking on one of the country’s ‘greenest’ superstores – if not THE greenest – and also a business which has been extremely successful since it opened in 2008, could certainly be described as ‘daunting’.
But Pete, who started with Sainsbury’s 19 years ago in Torquay as a butcher, seems to be taking it all in his stride. For a man who used to work in Newton Abbot Market as a butcher, he is a committed company man through and through after nearly two decades with the company.
‘Sainsbury’s are a great employer,’ he said, as we walked through the bustling store to his office, ‘they received an ‘Investors in People’ Award for a very good reason. There are always opportunities to progress yourself and do new and interesting things. I learn things everyday.
You can never be perfect, but I think as long as you are always looking to improve, you can get very close. I met my wife in Torquay Sainsbury’s 19 years ago – we both love working for the company still.’
The 40 year old, who is taking on his first managership at Dartmouth after being deputy manager at the Marsh Mills Sainsbury’s in Plymouth, describes his new role as an exciting challenge.
‘Being a manager is always interesting, always challenging and you are always developing,’ said the father of three. ‘It’s a cliché, but everyday really is different and I love it. I’m the manager and I have to focus on what is going to bring the customers in, and make sure we give them what they want to spend their money on.
‘I think Dartmouth is the perfect place for me to learn in because it is a smaller store but with such high standards. My colleagues here are enthusiastic, hard working, incredibly friendly and positive. I’ve only been here a few weeks but they have made me very welcome.’
Born in Bristol, Pete soon moved down to Torquay with his family and has a deep love of the area. He sailed on the Dart with his family and retains his love for the river to this day.
‘It’s amazing coming to work on the ferry,’ he said. ‘Firstly it’s so beautiful, secondly it makes you realise how lucky you are to live and work in such a brilliant place, and thirdly the little pause before continuing to drive up the hill helps you to get focussed for the day. I can’t believe I work in this fantastic place.’
‘The community is vital to the store and its future. We hope to have a permanent display of local art here, promoting local artists and the work of Dartmouth’s children and young people. We are very keen to do what we can for the community. We are all part of it and want to support any positive initiative if possible.’
Sainsbury’s regularly sends in ‘secret shoppers’ to all its stores and holds an annual competition to find the best overall, using measures such as helpfulness of staff and availability of products. The Dartmouth store has scored extremely well when compared nationally.
What is the secret of Dartmouth’s success?
‘We have a sense of community here that is hard to replicate,’ said Pete. ‘The staff are so helpful because they are part of this community and want to reflect well on it when customers – wherever they are from - walk through the door. The customer service is second to none and every member of staff I have met is determined to do even better next year. On top of this Dartmouth is the cleanest store I have ever seen – I feel inspired coming to work and seeing the attitude of all my colleagues.
‘If you watch them talk to customers it feels like a village – so friendly, so honest and open. This is the kind of response the public love. As a manager you can’t hope for more – everyone works together to make the store the best it can be for anyone who shops here.’
The store’s green credentials also provide Pete with another important focus. The store opened to great fanfare and still hosts regular tours of interested business leaders and green campaigners. But the wind turbines, water collection, recycled heating system and light optimisation systems are always being examined to see if they could save more energy.
‘We are always looking to improve and do more,’ he said. ‘Design features from this store are being incorporated into other new stores around the country. My predecessor Hilary Standfield is about to be manager of the new Dawlish store, which uses the same heating system we have here.
‘We are even now looking at new ways to save energy on refrigeration, heating and water costs. The great thing about it is that it helps the environment, but also helps the company because all of these measures also save money. This is the way forward and we are happy to be at the forefront of the new generation of supermarkets.
‘I have to say I am very proud of this store already. Dartmouth can be very proud of our store too: we are one of the best in the country, one of the greenest, and we are striving to improve every day.’
First published May 2011 By the Dart