Reminiscence and Resource Centre












Grocer returned to his old trade. - 1966
One of the best known personalities who wok, bud do not live, on Bata Estate was 50 on Sunday. He is Donald Savill, manager of the Bata Estate Supermarket, to whom his friends, especially the many people who every week buy their provisions there, tender sincere congratulations.

With a break of only two years, Mr Savill has been in the grocery business all his life, and for 21 years worked in Grays Co-operative Society shops in various places in the Thurrock area. He was born and bred in Grays, where he still lives.

The break was at the start of his service for British Bata, which he joined as a supplier, and subsequently became a group supplier, for women’s shoes. For a brief subsequent period, he worked in the refinishing department.
“I came to British Bata because of better conditions,” he said, “and also on the recommendation of Wally Briggs, of the merchandise department - we both started at the Co-op at the same time, and Mr Briggs came to East Tilbury before I did.”
With the establishment, six years ago, of the Supermarket, Mr Savill has seen almost a four-fold increase in grocery business on Bata Estate. “The greatest increase,” he told Bata Record, “has been in frozen foods, but stocks of everything have multiplied, and people buy a far greater variety of items than they did in the days of the grocer’s shop.

“Personal service did not disappear with the opening of the Supermarket - there is still a certain amount and I am pleased to say that the customers appreciate the way they are received and treated.”

Managing the Supermarket, which is one of group 800 departments in charge of Mr B Shaw, social service manager, means more than looking round the stocks and making sure everything is all right. Stocks have to be checked, supplies checked in, deviations in demand, with possible consequent action, noted, and several other items are involved. Donald Savill works in close co-operation with Mr Peter East, the food buyer, with whom he consults every morning, and whose wife is the store’s very efficient supervisor and leader of a cheerful and capable staff.

During the war, Mr Savill served in the Army Catering Corps, attached to heavy artillery, in this country, and overseas, including Africa, and in the invasion of Sicily.

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