Meet our Team – say hello to Joanne Hunter

16th May 2024

Jo, Marketing Coordinator at Cranstons, recently had a chat with Joanne Hunter, Retail Finance Administrator, in a cosy booth in the busy Café Oswalds.


How long have you worked at Cranstons?

I’ve been here for nearly 10 years now… It doesn’t feel like that long!

How did you find out about the job?

There was an advert in the Herald. I originally came to cover maternity leave, so for nine months, it was then extended to twelve months. A decade later, and here I am.

What does your role involve?

I am part of the finance team; my main responsibilities are to handle the cashing up for all the shops. It involves lots of data analysis, balancing and reconciliation of spreadsheets and inputting information into our accounting software. I also deal with bank reconciliations, petty cash, invoices and other financial transactions, along with producing financial analysis and reporting. My day involves a lot of numbers, a lot of paperwork, and a lot of coffee!

Best part of your job?

I know it sounds counterproductive – but I really enjoy when something goes wrong. I love investigating and finding the root of the problem, and then the satisfaction when you do find it, and fix it, that moment of knowing everything will now balance.

I, of course, have to include the team members I work with here. I work with some fantastic people. We always manage to get our work done by pulling together when needed. There is an air of camaraderie in the office, everyone feeds off each other’s positive energy – we really are a team.

Who do you look up to most at Cranstons?

Even though I’ve been here longer than both of them, I’d say I look up to Mel (Wilson) and Sarah (Thompson) the most. Sarah is my direct line manager, and is always there if I need anything. Mel is in charge of the office and leads the whole team. When Mel took over, she restructured the whole office. Both of them are strong women, but no stranger to helping people when they need it, that kind of attitude isn’t present in every workplace, and it’s encouraging to work with them.

How have you enjoyed the restructure?

I had originally worked part time, three days a week. But Mel allowed me to spread my hours over 5 days. I had worked in sales, purchase and finance, and spent my time helping everyone and doing a little of everything, something of a jack of all trades.

When Mel started, I was given my own jobs and responsibilities within the finance team, which increased over time. I really enjoy having my own tasks, helping new team members learn the ropes, and helping shape the way the department runs. I now also get to chat to the shops and to check and produce reports for Directors. I haven’t looked back.

What job did you do before this? Can you compare them?

It was a basic admin job – there is no comparison! Cranstons are 3000 times better, so much more support and care for their staff, a lot more opportunities for progression if that’s what you’re looking for, as well as a genuine care for the people who work here.

Did you have a mentor?

When I first came, I originally had a job in sales. My boss was called Jess, and I would consider her my mentor. She was sales based, a lot of dealing with the customer side of things, which was new to me. I’d already worked in an office environment, and had experience on that side of things, but Jess taught me about customer service how to take orders and input them into the system.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a little village between Penrith and Carlisle – Armathwaite – on a farm, in the middle of nowhere. It was a great childhood, and being a farmer’s daughter meant I spent a lot of time outside, I learned a lot from my Dad, it was a great upbringing.

What’s your main motivation in life?

My main motivation is to provide my kids with a happy life, plenty of family time, and to have a good work/life balance. Luckily, Cranstons allows me to have the freedom of working when they’re in school, and being there for them when they finish. It really is the ideal set up.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Oh god… I don’t even want to think about what age my kids will be! I’d be happy to still be in accounts in ten years, maybe full time, as the kids won’t need me as much. But I like to take things as they come. I’m making no promises!

Do you have any advice for the younger generation?

Learn everything you can! Take advice from experienced people as often as possible. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something.

Favourite Cranstons product?

I’m going back to basics on this one, you can’t beat our Cumberland Thick Sausage! Everything we sell is great, but our sausage with mash and beans unbeatable – don’t mess with it!

Favourite childhood memory?

Being on holiday by the sea.  My family always made sure we got a holiday, no matter what. Usually, we went to Great Yarmouth, which was just amazing. You have the seaside, donkey rides, and just everything you need! One year my Dad couldn’t get cover for the farm to go away, so my mum took us to Blackpool. I remember my Dad coming down to visit us every single day, even though he had to do all his farm work too, he was determined to see us enjoying the holiday. That memory is very special to me.

Dream holiday destination?

I would love to go to Disneyland… I’m sure the kids would love it too!


Quick fire round.

Best category in a pub quiz?

I’m really good at films.

What was your first car?

I had a red Austin Metro City, it only had one wing mirror! I don’t think you’d get away with that now, but it provided me the freedom I needed, as a teenager living on a farm.

Most embarrassing fashion trend you ever rocked?

There’s only one thing that comes to mind… Popper pants! They were like track suit bottoms with buttons all up the side. I thought they were so cool at the time, but you wouldn’t catch me in them now!

Day of the week at work?

Everyone’s got to say Friday to that question!