Meet smiliest server Steve who 'cares about the whole community'

Ely Hero Awards 2021 smiliest server Steve Smith 

Ely Hero Awards 2021 smiliest server Steve Smith - Credit: ELY HERO AWARDS

A "caring" shop manager who organised a designated shopping hour for the elderly and posted daily stock updates during the pandemic was crowned the smiliest server at the 2021 Ely Hero Awards.

Steve Smith, who lives in Ely and is manager of both Co-op stores in Burwell, won the title after judges said "he loves his job and cares about the whole community". 

The father-of-two is involved in most community projects within the village, including the Good Eggs Awards, the carnival and helping restore the food bank during the pandemic (as the church was closed).

Ely Hero Awards smiliest server Steve Smith with former Ely mayor Mike Rouse

Ely Hero Awards smiliest server Steve Smith with former Ely mayor Mike Rouse - Credit: ELY HERO AWARDS

He is also part of the neighbourhood watch and works with groups including Burwell Print. 

"With the pressures of running two stores, Steve seems to make this sound easy," said judges. 

"He has a great relationship with his staff at both stores and runs his own Facebook page called 'Steves Community News', which he uses to communicate good news and spread the word on all things nice going on in Burwell. 

"A genuinely caring person, he strives to make sure his customers and colleague are treated well and feel special."

Ely Hero Awards 2021 smiliest server Steve Smith and his wife Angii

Ely Hero Awards 2021 smiliest server Steve Smith and his wife Angii - Credit: ELY HERO AWARDS

Those who put Steve up for the award said he is “always there for everyone and keeps cheerful while doing so much for the community”.

In February, Steve - who worked at One Stop before moving to the Co-op - donated £50 of foodbank items in exchange for an art box painted by the Ely Rock Eels group.

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His skills were even recognised when he won a national award at the Retail Week Awards in London.

Steve said at the time: “I want to be that person who keeps everybody positive, because the shadow I cast is how my staff will react too.

In February, Steve Smith donated £50 of items to Ely Foodbank in exchange for an art box painted by Ely Rock Eels members.

In February, Steve Smith, manager of both Co-op stores in Burwell, donated £50 of items to Ely Foodbank in exchange for an art box painted by Ely Rock Eels members. - Credit: ELY ROCK EELS

“I go on the till and smile and have a laugh and it can make all the difference.

“If I can use my position to encourage people to look after everybody then that’s what I will do.

“My ethos is taken from the line in The Greatest Showman film, which is ‘the noblest art is that of making others happy’.

Steve said he was "humbled and proud" to be recognised and that it was" awesome to share an evening with my wife".

The other finalist was Mandy Markowski, a customer service assistant at the One Stop Shop in Sutton, who judges said is "well-known and liked by her customers.

The first of two nights of the 2021 Ely Hero Awards took place at Poet's House in Ely. 

The first of two nights of the 2021 Ely Hero Awards took place at Poet's House in Ely. - Credit: ANGII SMITH

"This is due to her very cheerful disposition and the way in which she makes time to chat to all her customers.

"She clearly loves her job and has worked at the store for many years enabling her to establish an excellent relationship with lots of people. 

"During our 'mystery shop' it was obvious who Mandy was before introductions were made.

"Customers enjoy her banter and making them feel like they are an individual. 

"To quote a nominee: 'I always come out with a smile on my face after being served by Mandy'!

Ely Hero Awards 2021 smiliest server Steve Smith 

Ely Hero Awards 2021 smiliest server Steve Smith - Credit: ELY HERO AWARDS


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