Farewell to Neil, a champion for Manx meat
Isle of Man Meats has paid tribute to outgoing Tesco Douglas store manager Neil Connell, describing him as an ‘unsung local produce hero’ for his efforts in bringing Manx goods to the shelves of the island’s largest supermarket.
Neil is set to retire shortly following four and a half years at the helm of the Douglas store, rounding off a successful career spanning four decades with the multinational retailer.
His time at the store saw a marked increase in the promotion and availability of locally produced goods, most notably the creation of a section dedicated to Isle of Man Meats.
Neil explained the importance of widening access to quality Manx produce at Tesco, particularly Isle of Man Meats’ award-winning beef and lamb:
‘It’s local. It supports the farmers. It supports the Island. It’s a no-brainer.
‘It also supports our store as well. If the ferry doesn’t run, it means we have a solid, secure supply of excellent quality local products available for our customers to enjoy.
‘I was fortunate to work in Shetland for three and a half years.
‘I’m from Scotland originally, a highlander, so I’m used to that kind of environment.
‘When you’re on an island, whether it’s here or off the coast of Scotland, you’ve got a community that’s tied into that rock that you live on. Everyone’s reliant on each other.
‘It’s important for larger businesses like Tesco to recognise that, and we fully understand our responsibility to the communities we’re a part of.
‘That’s where supporting local is vital – whether that’s through employing over 300 people locally, or filling the shelves with great Manx produce.
‘I’ve been proud to champion local producers and help to open discussions with our buyers in the UK, who ultimately have the final say.
‘For me now though, it’s back to my highland home to be nearer my family. I will miss this wonderful island and the amazing people though.’
Isle of Man Meats plant director, Phil Parsons, said:
‘I don’t think we would be where we are now if it wasn’t for Neil’s attitude and commitment to Isle of Man Meats, our producers, and consumers across the island.
‘He’s been instrumental in giving our products the prominence they enjoy in Tesco.
‘It’s thanks to his continued efforts that we’ve been able to offer customers a greater choice of fantastic meats, bringing with it all the benefits of choosing Manx, from reduced environmental impact to helping our local farmers.
‘Neil is an unsung local produce hero and all of us at Isle of Man Meats cannot thank him enough for his support. We look forward to continue working with his successor in further developing this important relationship.’
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