Wed, May 1, 2024 12:31 PM

National win a tribute to staff and family in wake of loss


Paula Hulburt

The owners of a Renwick store are paying a heartfelt tribute to their family and staff after winning a national award despite devastating loss.

FreshChoice Renwick has been named nationally as FreshChoice Small store of the Year.

The win comes after a traumatic time for owners Chris and Pip Elliffe and their team who have been dealing with the loss of two much loved people.

Senior staff member Maxine Drummond lost her battle with a terminal illness just days after Chris’s mum Doreen Elliffe who died on Christmas Eve.

Chris says to pick up the award under the circumstances was mind blowing.

“It has been a very challenging year to say the least. To pick up this award under the circumstances blows my mind.

“Max and Mum were A big part of the operation, so this took a massive toll on staff as well.

“We couldn't be prouder to receive this award under those conditions, as it shows the depth and strength of our team.”

Despite a very difficult year, staff at FreshChoice in Renwick won small store of the year. Photo: Facebook

The team at the popular Renwick supermarket were understaffed for most of last year.

Staff member Kate Ritchie had top take early retirement due to surgery and Chris says the team were operating with four less staff than usual.

Spending time with his mum, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in March last year, meant Chris was not in the shop as much as usual.

“Mum passed away on Christmas eve and Max a few days later.

“The effort from all staff involved was mind blowing.

“Special thanks to my beautiful wife Pip, Manish and Alan for taking the reins and keeping the shop running as usual. I was caring for Mum a lot and when I was there my brain wasn't.”

Presenting Chris and Pip with the award in Auckland recently, judges said the hard work and dedication of the Renwick team was inspiring.

“Shoutout to our amazing team at FreshChoice Renwick for being awarded the Store of the Year award.

“Your hard work and dedication to providing top-notch service to our Renwick community truly shines through.”

Accepting the award, Chris says it was the love and support of customers which helped get them through a tough time.

“We had customers and ex-staff members offering their time to help throughout the year.

“A massive thank you! Checking in with Pip and me daily, doing all the extra shifts/hard work, and visiting Mum and Max when needed. Couldn't be prouder.

“Receiving this award was very humbling and wouldn't have been possible without the ongoing hard work, determination and high standards of our staff.

A massive shout out to them. Also a huge thank you to the ongoing support from our loyal customers. We feel extremely privileged to live in such an amazing community who supports us and is always cheering us on. So proud!”

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