BRUCE Kirk was appointed the new store manager at Sarnia Spar Pinetown this month. Fever had a one-on-one to find out a little more about him and his plans for the store. KN: What do you classify as good customer service at Spar? BK: By creating a warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere where customers are acknowledged and treated like guests in our house. KN: What are your future plans for the store? BK: To grow the store into the preferred shopping destination for our community where our customers can be assured of the best quality and service standards. KN: Why do customers shop at this store? BK: We have a very loyal base of customers, a lot of whom have been shopping at the store for many years. I think the customers feel relaxed and comfortable in our store, and enjoy the interaction with our staff. KN: What is most important - a good product or friendly, fast service? BK: Both are very important. It is critical to stock the products that your customers require, to always have available a suitable range at a competitive price. The management and staff need to provide excellent service to complete the overall shopping experience. KN: What makes Spar different from other stores? BK: I feel that Spar still has that warm and friendly, welcoming community store feel, where you are noticed and acknowledged. Lasting relationships with management and staff are formed. KN: Tell us a little about your career and why did you choose it? BK: My retail career spans some 14 years, mostly in store management, also retail operations and, most recently, logistics where I was involved in exports to a Spar store overseas. I think I have always been most comfortable in the service industry, where I enjoy working with people. I particularly enjoy the challenge of working with staff to help them to develop and grow to reach their potential, and be the best they can be in every way. KN: If you had to offer advice on the career to those that want to follow in your footsteps, what will it be? BK: My opinion is that the most important aspect to this business is your people skills. Success is largely dependant on your ability to forge sound relationships with people. Treat all people with respect and always look for the good in people. Qualities like attention to detail and being good with numbers will help a lot.