Dunfermline Athletic

Coatbridge manager`s kindness rewarded with national award

Thursday, 2nd Dec 2021

The manager of a Coatbridge butcher shop who bought umbrellas to protect her queueing customers during the restrictions of lockdown has won a national recognition award.
Customers of Hugh Black & Sons in the town`s precinct voted in their droves to secure manager Grace Smith (53) the coveted Scottish Craft Butchers "Extra Mile" Award.

Sponsored by the Scotch Butchers Club, the award recognizes the outstanding work of someone in the butcher trade who has gone above and beyond to support customers, colleagues and the business during the challenges of the past year.
And those who witnessed Grace`s outstanding customer service were in no doubt who the winner should be.

"I`m absolutely thrilled," said Grace after receiving her award from Masterchef: The Professionals winner and Scotland`s first National Chef Gary Maclean. "It`s amazing and so humbling to hear of the nice things people have been saying about me.

"I don`t think I do anything special - I just do what any decent human being would do to help others and take care of our customers."
Customers highlighted Grace`s kindness in providing umbrellas for them as they queued in the rain while restrictions limited the number allowed in the shop.

"There`s nowhere for people to shelter outside and I couldn`t have them getting wet," said Grace.
Others told how Grace came outside in all weathers to take orders from queueing customers to ensure their purchases were ready when they got inside the shop in order to speed up the queue.
"Sometimes the queues were really long - especially towards Christmas," said Grace, who has been a manager with Hugh Black & Sons for 17 years.
"It wasn`t fair to ask any of the staff to go outside so I was happy to go and take the orders. Our customers are very loyal and it was the least I could do to help those waiting in the cold and wet."
Other customers praised Grace for her caring nature, contacting those isolating during lockdown and ensuring supplies were delivered to those who couldn`t get out.
And all agreed she went the extra mile on a daily basis to look after her customers.
Grace`s award marks a unique "double" for the Coatbridge shop as the same accolade went to one of her young staff members, Nicky Presland, last year.

Gordon King, Executive Manager of Scottish Craft Butchers, said a record number of nominations had poured in from all over Scotland from customers wanting to see their butcher recognized and rewarded for going the extra mile.

"I`m delighted for Grace," he said. "She typifies the very best in local butcher shop management and takes customer service to a whole new level.

"It`s heartening to see just how much she is appreciated by her customers and it`s no surprise that a shop under her control has lifted this award two years in a row.

"The nominations from across Scotland all spoke highly of their local butcher and it`s encouraging to hear how many customers have decided to continue shopping local as a result of the outstanding service and support they received from their butcher during the challenges and restrictions of Covid.

"Grace`s win highlights the type of service that our local butchers can provide."

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