Our colleague Gregor Donnelly – a theatre set designer by profession – is getting rave reviews from customers at our Park Royal store in London for his "five-star hotel service", cheery personality and can-do attitude.
In normal times Gregor works in the West End, but with that on hold he joined our team in May – and he's immediately become a firm favourite, with lots of customers getting in touch with the store to say how much they appreciate everything he does.
Regular customer Kantilal Shah, who's been shopping at the store for 10 years, wrote in to say: "You have a superstar on tills. Gregor took the time out to help me on self tills with bagging alerts and he provided five-star hotel service."
Here's a selection of what other customers have said about him:
"In these depressing times it was a pleasure to be served by someone who is jolly, happy and genuinely caring about serving customers"
"I really appreciated the help from Gregor on tills – scanning and managing my little handfuls!."
"He is credit to your store. Amazing guy"
Before the pandemic, 51-year-old Gregor was creating theatre sets in the West End, working in venues including the London Palladium, but the Covid outbreak and the closure of theatres meant he had to find employment elsewhere.
He said: "Supermarkets have been a real godsend for people in the arts and I have to say the staff at Asda Park Royal have been amazing in taking me onboard and including me as one of the team. There is a real family feel about the place here.
"The staff here always support each other. Everyone works well together and looks after each other too."
Gregor says it's great to receive positive feedback from customers, but insists he's only being himself and doing his job.
He said: "For some elderly people going to the supermarket may be the only time they get to go out of the house that day. I think that if I'm the one person that customer speaks to during the day then I want to make a bit of a difference and make that person laugh and have a joke! That's how I like to be treated when I go into a store. If you can brighten up someone's day when they are doing their shopping that's great."
Scottish-born Gregor moved to London to follow his passion for theatre and design and trained as a set and costume designer on the Motley design programme, Drury Lane. He's designed sets in the West End and in New York and recently was designer on the Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall.
Gregor said: "Working in collaboration with the director I am responsible for the look of everything that is on stage or on screen from how the scenery looks to what the actors wear to what the props they use look like. It's an exciting profession with no two days ever being the same. Sadly in March when Covid arrived and the lockdown took place, all of my theatre work disappeared literally overnight. I had five productions that just stopped. Not only did I realise I had no sense of belonging to a team anymore but also my income for the year disappeared.
"Team working is important for me and I like to be able to support others and contribute in any way I can. When I planned to apply for a job, i thought about a supermarket not only to give me some financial security during this difficult time but also to put some routine and purpose into my working life.
"Asda has been an amazing place to work. Until working in the store I had never really considered the importance of a cohesive team working in a supermarket, however Park Royal is a great example of how people have pulled together. They not only support our customers but also support each other. Personally I feel a real sense of 'family' each time I walk into the store.
"I look forward to seeing the colleagues and love the connection that they have with each other. This sense of a supportive working environment obviously starts at the top and the managers within the store have gone out of their way to support me and make me feel an integral part of the front end team.
"There has been some theatre work that has started again and the management have supported me with swapping shifts and taking annual leave here and there to accommodate my theatre work, which I am really grateful for. I have a great time working for Asda and feel proud to be a colleague."
Store manager Mohsin Khan, who nominated Gregor for an Asda award, said: "I've never met anyone with so much energy. He's always smiling and always goes above and beyond in serving his customers.
"In fact, there's not single day since he started that I've not received feedback from customers saying how great his service is. He's very engaging and always talking and sharing stories about his time in the theatre. Gregor is brilliant – he needs to be seen to be believed!"