Two of Taranaki's top checkout operators live right here in Stratford.
Stratford New World checkout operator Kate Marshall-Smith beat more than 30 competitors to become the region's top checker during the Foodstuffs North Island's 70th annual Checker of the Year Competition last week.
Fellow Stratford New World operator Brooke Millar came third and Katana Price from New World New Plymouth was second.
Checkout operators from New World and Pak'nSave stores across the Taranaki region went till-to-till during the competition where the checkers competed on stage against one another while being judged by a team of six senior Foodstuffs staff.
Checkers were assessed on their speed, presentation, customer service and accuracy as they scanned 30 items as quickly as possible while also maintaining eye contact and staying engaged with the customer.
Kate — who won a printer — says the win was unexpected.
"I was shocked and pretty surprised."
She started working at the supermarket last year but had also worked at the business throughout high school. She enjoys the social side of the job and says it is important to always be friendly, happy and polite.
Each region's winner will now be mystery shopped to determine one overall North Island Checker of the Year who will be announced at the Foodstuffs North Island Excellence Awards later this year.
Brooke Millar won a Playstation headset and says she was also pretty shocked and surprised to come third.
She had worked at the supermarket for two years and says it is important to be approachable friendly and accurate.
"If you are not accurate you will certainly hear about it!" The pair say they felt a bit nervous but had a great support crew of more than 35 staff as well as friends and family.
Stratford New World also took home the prize for Best Support Team award after dressing upin a 1980s aerobics theme.
Stratford New World owner Rebecca Harris is proud of the staff and the entire team.
"We are absolutely stoked. It's always exciting to have people in the top 10, but to have a first and a third — we are stoked."