Asda Falkirk’s secret weapon is 75-year-old American Jim

'Front of house man'  Jim Cutaia is the friendly face of Asda Falkirk Superstore who wins smiles - and repeat custom.
'Front of house man' Jim Cutaia is the friendly face of Asda Falkirk Superstore who wins smiles - and repeat custom.

He’s technically Canadian but regards himself as Californian, but to scores of local shoppers he’s simply “American Jim” - and the star of Falkirk’s retail scene.

At a time when impersonal, faceless internet shopping is threatening even supermarket trade the popular septuagenarian is one compelling reason for many people to visit an actual store to buy their goods in person.

Jim is right at home at Asda Falkirk Superstore.

Jim is right at home at Asda Falkirk Superstore.

Jim Cutaia (75) is as well known for his friendly service and smile as he is for his accent.

He was born in Canada but later moved to California - and regards himself as a Californian.

He moved to Scotland with his wife May, originally from Falkirk, because she wanted to be near her family.

The couple have been married for nearly 52 years and have a son, Aaron, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Before joining Asda 14 years ago Jim worked as a computer programmer but says he enjoys having more of a customer-facing role.

One of his regular customers, Marion Convoy, got in touch on with Asda Falkirk on Facebook to say how Jim brightens up everyone’s day.

She said: “He’s a wonderful man. Always smiling. It’s a pleasure to be served by him.”

Carol Johnstone, people manager at the store, said: “He’s a really lovely man – the type of man who would go out of his way for anyone.

“Customers will go to him every day because he’s so happy; he has a smiling face and he cares.

“We get lots of nice customer comments about him all the time.

“He really cares for the individual, he has the highest respect for every one.”

Jim started in the store’s deli and then worked as a greeter before moving to checkouts 11 years ago.

Over time he’s got to know lots of customers and has regulars who will wait to be served by him.

He said: “I try to treat each customer the same.

“I have regulars that I have extra banter with.

“I’ve got a customer that will come in every Thursday and wait until I’ve finished my break so I can serve her.

“Another regular is a guy who comes in about lunchtime – we both keep budgies and we have a blather.

“He’s invited me round to his house a couple of times”.

He adds: “I enjoy it when it gets really busy because I feel like I’m in a cocoon.

“I ignore the queue and concentrate on the customer in front of me, and try to give each one the same attention.

“My dad and his brothers owned a hotel in Canada and a nightclub in Santa Fe in California.

“He was out there talking to people all the time – he was a bar tender most of his life.

“He had a high-class restaurant and he met some famous people: Eleanor Roosevelt, Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra.

“I never had a customer-facing job before Asda ... but maybe some of that has rubbed off on me!”