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Family-run stores across north-east to continue tradition of opening on Christmas Day to lonely residents

Greens of Ellon

The owners of a chain of local stores in the north-east will open their doors to lonely residents this Christmas Day – continuing a tradition dating back nearly 40 years.

Greens of Ellon has decided to open its doors to the community this Christmas Day to offer a place for residents who are alone this festive season.

The store has been serving the local community in the run-up to Christmas with their butcher and deli counters providing all the ingredients for the perfect dinner.

The owner, Harris Aslam and his family, do not celebrate Christmas and therefore treat the day like any other.

Dating back to 1982, the Harris family have invited the community to their shop for a mince pie and a chat.

Last year, Greens of Ellon served around 200 customers on Christmas Day and also came to the rescue following an issue with turkeys bought elsewhere.

While none of their 25 staff needs to work on Christmas as the family themselves tend to staff the shop, two staff members have decided to work.

The shop will be open from 10am to 6pm for anyone looking for a festive treat and some company.

Greens of Ellon is just one of eight stores located across the north-east and is part of the Eros Retail group.

A tradition that dates back to 1982

Other stores are also partaking in the tradition including in Peterhead and the recently opened store in Inverurie.

It is particularly important as Omicron threatens to restrict people’s freedom again with another potential lockdown so any opportunity to socialise even on Christmas is welcome.

Heading into 2022, Greens of Ellon are anticipating a rise in their delivery service due to vulnerable people shielding.

Greens of Ellon posted on social media saying: “There are many in our local community whom unfortunately do not have anybody to celebrate Christmas with – so we love welcoming them in-store and wishing them the best over a mince pie.”

Greens of Ellon along with other stores will be open for lonely local residents on Christmas Day. Picture by Nicola McNeil.

However, there has been some criticism on social media regarding the company making people work on Christmas Day.

The owners clarified that “the Greens family actually staff the store for Christmas Day with anyone who wants to work having full choice over doing so”.

Nicola McNeil, store manager at Greens of Ellon, said: “Customers come in and spend not just five minutes but half an hour in the store just chatting and it does really help those vulnerable people by themselves at Christmas.

“I think it is important for those people to see someone at Christmas, not just their four walls but a friendly face too.”

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