Meet the Manager
Saturday, 30th September 2017
I had the pleasure of meeting Store Manager Andrew Bloor a week before the long-awaited official opening of Marks & Spencer on Wed 27th September. The building was still an empty shell but swarming with busy workmen. Andrew had a mountain to climb but found time to talk about his expectations for the Moseley M&S Foodhall.
Andrew, who lives in Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield, has been with M&S for 38 years and was appointed to this post in June when he was the Manager at the Redditch store in the Kingfisher Centre. Since then he has been diligently getting to know Moseley, going on walkabouts and meeting some of Moseley’s movers and shakers. He’s found the Park, heard about the Farmers’ Market and spotted our generous quota of Veggies. He’s thinking of increasing the gluten free product range and, noticing that we no longer have a florist, he is expanding the store space previously allocated to flowers.
This is Andrew’s first opportunity to mastermind the opening of a brand new store in a new location. Building the right team was a priority starting with the Deputy Manager, Toby Russell. This process has involved sifting through 400 applications to hire 40 new staff, ten of whom are local, and making the total strength 55.
The 9000 sq. ft. store is comparable in size to the branches in Harborne and the Sears Retail Park. It carries 5000 food and drink products as well as flowers, greetings cards, newspapers and magazines which we hope will soon include Moseley B13. There’s a Click & Collect service with free next day store delivery as well as assistance to order on screen from M&S.com from the store. There is a cafe seating 45, complete with a small outside terrace, bike racks and a car park for 80 cars.
Andrew said “we’re looking forward to bringing the best of M&S food and drink to local shoppers.” These include new additions to the popular Taste range like Thailand Fiery Chicken and Jungle Curry; fresh meats for roasting and stewing including new veal and venison cuts and Deep & Loaded Detroit-style pizzas. Andrew’s personal indulgence is picking up some paella when he leaves to go home.
The new in-store bakery is run by Moseleyite and Section co-ordinator Calum McKenzie-Ward who featured in last month’s Moseley B13. There is a range of brand new artisan breads, including new sourdoughs such as M&S’s Signature Sourdough, inspired by the traditional sourdoughs of San Francisco and three new 100% spelt loaves which are available at M&S for the first time.
Andrew is aware that the new store has been “widely anticipated in the local community.” I think that slightly understates the enthusiasm I have found amongst numerous friends and acquaintances especially when it comes to taking some the stress out of Christmas. Andrew assured me that “we will be working hard to ensure we offer fantastic service, putting our customers at the heart of everything we do and making this store a part of the local community.”
He decided to introduce his new team to Moseley Village for their recent Staff Engagement Day. He hired a large room at the Moseley Exchange and arranged for a local business, Desmaines to do the catering. There was staff training and ice breakers for them to get to know each other and a special raffle won by Lorna Shaw to be the ribbon cutter at the official opening.
Andrew told me he plans to be manager of the Moseley store for the long term and he wants “to bring something to Moseley.” It’s very encouraging that the Moseley Alternative Giving Campaign is being considered as the store’s official charity.
See you at the checkout.
The opening hours are from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm on Saturday, and 10:30am to 4:30pm on Sunday.