If you notice a long queue of customers at Liam Allanson's checkout, don't be alarmed because they're all very excited.
The shoppers are lining up to see Woolworths' regional and NSW top checkout operator of the year and to wish him well for the national title, announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on Tuesday night.
Liam, a former Rutherford High School student, started his career with Woolworths at its McKeachies Run supermarket and moved to the Cessnock supermarket about two years ago.
Cessnock store manager Paul Langley said Liam is popular with customers many supporting him in his quest for the national title.
He said Liam has been judged on customer feedback, productivity and overall personality. He was also asked to share a little about himself.
"We get a tremendous amount of feedback about him from customers - a lot of the regulars have no problem with lining up just to go through his checkout."
He said Liam's recognition means a lot for the Cessnock store and has put it "on the Woolworths map."
Liam said he owes his current success to his Line Manager Michael Alexandrou. "He's is the one who helped me get the position at Cessnock. He's been my mentor and I couldn't have achieved all this without him," Liam said.
He said his Woolworths' team mates and his second in charge Charene Garnett, have also been supportive.
Liam's first job was at Coles, Rutherford. He later worked at Masters, Rutherford. When the store closed he was offered a job at Woolworths' McKeachies Run supermarket. "In fact some of my old customers from McKeachies come to Cessnock to see me," he said.
Asked what makes a good check out operator, Liam said it's all about being yourself and letting your personality shine.
"I like talking to people and getting out there and making a difference to people's lives," he said. "It doesn't take much to ask someone how they are and what they are up to for the day and if they have had a good day etc.
"You never know you may just make a difference. You get the negative customers sometimes but I've got an outgoing personality and I can handle them," he said.
Liam said he also has a grocery bag packing method that appeals to customers. "I'm fairly orderly and particular in how I pack customers' bags and I think a lot of them like that," he said.
So what are his plans for the future? "Things are going so good at work at the moment I'm not thinking of going anywhere too soon.
"This whole experience including visiting Woolworths' head office in Sydney has been a big eye-opener for me and I'm loving every minute of it," Liam said.