As owner of seven retail outlets, it’s a wonder Cookstown man Jonathan Finch has time to breathe, but the Chartered Surveying graduate seems to take it all in his stride, and still achieve great results.
One of the company’s flagship retail outlets, the A29 Filling Station in Cookstown has been nominated again this year in the British Retail Awards for their fresh produce and also in the Manger of the Year category.
Further to these nominations, the company which Jonathan runs along with his two business partners Andy Hutchinson and Les Ross have been nominated for their innovative training programme.
Mr Finch told the MAIL how the business has grown and expanded through the years, “Last year we won the Northern Ireland Forecourt of the Year and the Mid Ulster business award.
“This year seems to just get better and better, we are shortlisted in the Irish Awards for our Training Initiative.
“We sat back and looked at our company and we realised that staff are key in all we do, getting good staff is very hard and especially when you are trying to bring outside personnel in. So we decided to look internally at our own business and we soon realised it was a training issue. We decided bring in our own training programme to work with our staff and train them.”
Mr Finch continued: “We have to tell our staff what we expect of them so they know exactly how they should operate with the customers. Our biggest time and investment with in this has gone into producing a booklet called Solo Management systems, known as SMS within the company. So effectively, we are going through every single element of our day to day work and saying to people this is how we are going to do this.
Speaking about the prospect of winning the awards, Mr Finch said: “It would be fantastic to win, it puts accreditation onto it as far as I’m concerned. We strive to get accreditation, the staff know that their efforts are being recognised. It really is their reward. My staff have to come in here, they have to be treated well and fair and they have to enjoy it when they are here, and that is what we work hard to achieve.”
Reflecting on his own personal success, Mr Finch said hard work is at the heart of it, “Hard work, focus and staying positive are the main things for me.
“Business is a very lonely place at times, even if you have partners because you take responsibility onto your shoulders, for your staff, your family. It is keeping an eye on that goal and working hard, simple as that.”