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Meet the team: Lewis Bridge, Shop Manager
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Lewis joined the team last summer as a senior sales assistant and has worked his way up to the role of shop manager, a role he was awarded as the dealership reopened at the start of June.
As a retired Wessex League footballer, Lewis now enjoys being part of the local five-a-side team and spending time with his fiancee and two-year-old son, who he is keen to pass his football skills onto!
What does your role involve?
Since my recent promotion, I am responsible for the overall running of the on-site accessory shop. This involves looking after the staff, ensuring everyone is happy with their assigned shifts and arranging swaps if necessary, managing stock and overseeing orders, dealing with customer enquiries and ensuring the smooth running of the operation. There are five staff members in the shop and we’re all really friendly and work well together, so there’s always a great atmosphere.
I’ve also spent the last couple of months taking ownership of our new online shop, which is now live! Lockdown was the ideal time for us to finally get on with making our online shop a reality. I worked with the developers at Serenity Digital to get it all set up as we wanted and I’ve spent the last few weeks populating it with our most popular products. More products will be added as the weeks go by, with the aim of getting the majority of our stock online over time.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your work in recent months?
It has certainly been challenging! Many of us were furloughed during the height of lockdown with the site being closed for 9 weeks, which was a worrying time. However, it gave me the opportunity to think about the online side of things and we also used that time to make some changes to the layout of the shop to make it more practical in the current circumstances and to ensure customer and staff safety when we were able to reopen.
We installed a hand sanitising station at the entrance, floor stickers to mark out the 2m gaps and screens around the till area. We also encourage contactless payments wherever possible and have a number of new safety procedures in place. Our priority is ensuring that people feel safe when they come into the shop. So far the flow of customers has been good, but if it gets really busy, we’ll limit customer numbers at any one time to ensure social distancing is adhered to..
What’s your career background?
I worked for the NHS for five years prior to joining the team here. I was based at Winchester Hospital and had 3 different roles during my time there. They were very much admin-based and public facing, which gave me two great skill sets that stood me in good stead for my role here. I’m very organised and experienced in administration tasks and as I was working for busy consultants, everything had to be done quickly and to a high standard. I also had a lot of interaction with the patients, which gave me the skills to deal with enquiries and problems calmly and efficiently to ensure a satisfactory outcome for them. I couldn’t walk from one part of the hospital to another without getting stopped by a member of the public and asked a question!
What are the most rewarding and challenging elements of your role?
The most challenging part of my role is trying to meet customers’ expectations when circumstances make it difficult. The last few weeks have been particularly tricky as deliveries and suppliers are facing their own challenges, but we always endeavour to do as much as we can to ensure the customer gets what they need, when they need it and go away happy.
The most rewarding part is the feeling you get when you’re able to provide a customer with exactly what they were after or a solution to a problem they came in with. It’s fantastic to see them leave happy with their purchase and experience!
What are your proudest work achievements?
Since joining I have implemented some new processes that link the shop and the sales teams even closer together when it comes to getting those extra accessories for the customers when they buy their vans. Now, every time the sales team sells a caravan, we receive a copy of the paperwork immediately so we can start dealing with any additional requests the customer has and getting orders placed quickly. This means that customers are more likely to receive their accessories at the same time as their caravan, which is the ideal scenario as we’re able to deliver a seamless service.
I’m also really proud that we have made the online shop happen and at the most appropriate time too, with many people still opting to stay at home. I’m very tech-minded so I’ve enjoyed learning the new software and being the one to upload the new products to the site and present them in the right way. It’s going to be great to offer this extra service to our customers!
Finally, being promoted was so rewarding for me. In my previous roles, I’d always considered the possibility of taking on more responsibility so I’m thrilled that my hard work has been recognised here and I was given the chance to progress.
Why is Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes a great place to work?
I live two minutes away so my commute is amazing!! I used to go caravanning with my family when I was growing up and my parents bought their caravans from Winchester Caravans. I remember a lot of the staff from when we used to visit the showroom when I was younger! When I joined the team, I was welcomed immediately into the family and everyone was so friendly. It really is like no other workplace; I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to work with. My manager James provided me with the encouragement and guidance I needed to make my visions become reality and I’m incredibly grateful for that!
If there’s anything you need for your caravan, or you’re just after some advice, pop into our accessory shop and have a chat with Lewis or one of other friendly and knowledgeable team members who will be happy to help! You can also browse our new online shop and make the most of the home delivery service on offer.
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