Hallglen shopkeeper's bright idea helps keep customers and staff safe

A village store is using a traffic light entry system to help keep customers and staff as safe as possible during the coronavirus crisis.

By James Trimble
Thursday, 16th April 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th April 2020, 12:33 pm

Customers of Hallglen Convenience Store, in Hallglen Shopping Centre, wait outside until the traffic light, operated remotely by a member of staff behind the counter and a perspex screen, turns to green.

The brainchild of shop owner Shraz Abdul Khaliq, the traffic light system has been welcomed by regulars and by shop staff.

Shraz said: “We initially talked to staff and said we had to stay open. It’s not about money, it’s about being the only store in the village – there’s no one else in the area for these customers.

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Hallglen Convenience Store owner Shraz Abdul Khaliq with his patented customer traffic light system

“At first we closed the shop to customers and were serving them through a hatch, but I began thinking of a way we could allow the customers to safely come into the shop again. I talked to my cousins, who also own shops, and they said they were standing outside allowing three people at a time in.

“I thought there must be a better way – the staff member is standing outside and is exposed. So I had the idea of the traffic lights and ordered them online.

“You don’t have anyone constantly standing outside telling customers when to come in, the lights are controlled from the till behind the counter and the screen.”

Feedback for the system has been extremely positive.

“Everyone likes it,” said Shraz. “They think it’s funny and people have said it’s a great idea. I think my cousins are looking at it now and thinking about it for their own shops.

“At the end of the day the idea is offering more protection for everyone – customers and staff.”

A sign placed outside the shop by Shraz shows the mutual respect there is between staff and customers up in Hallglen.

It states: “We don’t want to close the store as we know we are a vital lifeline to our community and you are also our family who have supported us for many years.”

Shraz and the team have also asked customers to identify any elderly or vulnerable people who may need assistance with food deliveries.