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Customer satisfaction key to 70-year success story

Keeping customers happy to ensure they remain loyal is the key to success for a third-generation retailer in the North-East who is this year celebrating 70 years of trading.

The Nisa Local Thomas Foodmarket in Norton, near Stockton on Tees, was founded in 1950 by Arthur Thomas, grandfather of current owner David, who says he works to the same basic principles as those applied when the shop first opened.


“I don’t want our customers going anywhere else and so I do everything I can to make sure they have no need to. We are a family business and have been here for a long time by offering the personal touch and it’s something we take real pride in,” said David.

Regular investment in the 2,500 sq ft store to keep it up to date and ensuring he offers the best possible price for his customers has secured the ongoing success of the business which, during the recent pandemic has seen footfall and weekly turnover climb and stay.

“Sales during the height of Covid went up between 12 and 15% and they have not yet dropped back to pre-Covid levels. We saw lots of new faces and some of those are still shopping with us and are not just buying top-up, they are coming in and doing a full shop,” he said.

Licensed is a key category for Thomas Foodmarket with Covid impacting sales positively by more than 20% and it is this area that David focuses much of his attention.

“We recently re-fitted the spirits gantry behind the counter with back lit panels which has had a fantastic effect and spirit sales have absolutely soared – almost tripling. We add in bespoke, individual lines and our customers know they can come here, and I’ll get pretty much anything they want. It’s a service they have come to expect, and we are happy to provide.”