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First and foremost, in today’s blog we’d like to congratulate Kate Walsh. She’s the manager of Herlihy’s Centra Fermoy. But she’s also International Store Manager of the Year, according to NACS Insight, which is an amazing achievement.

Readers will, we hope, forgive our excitement. NACS stands for the National Association of Convenience Stores. Insight is short for Insight Research, which is a research business specialising in the convenience and fuel retail industry. We at Musgrave are delighted that one of our partners – Centra – has impressed these combined industry heavyweights so much that they’ve found a Centra store worthy of a top honour (delivered, incidentally on June 4 at London’s St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel).

Equally important, though, is the fact that this is a great illustration of how modern store managers learn their trade. Manager often rise up through the ranks (as Kate did with Herlihy), gaining experience along the way in various aspects of the business. But Kate also studied food business and completed a trainee management programme with Musgrave as part of a work placement opportunity – and she has a diploma in human resources.

That’s quite a range of skills – but these days it’s not so unusual. The convenience business has long been about much more than simply opening a shop in a promising area; knowledge of people management, as well as food and grocery management, is very important these days.

That’s also proven by Serena Guihen. She was highly commended at the same event for her performance at Centra Moycullen. She turned the business around, transforming the workplace into an enthusiastic, energetic and willing team.

Making the business work is the bottom line of course. All the skills and training in the world mean very little if the people who walk through the door aren’t impressed. And that means you.

So it’s good to get a thumbs-up from people in your own business. Kate and Serena are certainly the sort of people we like working with. But what matters much more is that they’re the sort of people you like shopping with. That really is what it all comes down to.

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