Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Wild Goose Garage, Dursley, Gloucestershire

LOCATION: Wild Goose Garage, what an intriguing name! So, thought I would make a stealth check, then learned that the enterprise had won Best Pace Forecourt in the 2014 SuperStation Awards. Even more reason to make a visit.

FORECOURT: There is no pole although the large Pace-branded canopy is visible, but far more eye-catching are the illuminated fuel prices on the sides of the canopy. And no doubt about one of the site's main attractions the price of fuel at a leading edge 123.7 and 127.7ppl! There was a very steady stream of vehicles refuelling does that 0.2 less make all the difference?

The pumps all looked in good order apart from the one I used some spilt diesel and discarded plastic gloves on the ground.

The forecourt is quite short and narrow but a number of services have been skilfully positioned at one end a jet wash bay and at the other a vacuum and the shop. An airline, water, a Calor Gas service and winter fuels (coal, logs and kindling) are also available. Due to the limited space designated parking is at a premium there's room for two or three cars at best.

Road-side advertising highlights a Calor Gas service and Nescafé & Go hot drinks unit. On the side of the shop are a Lottery sign and another Calor Gas ad. There is a wall-mounted board with a menu of what the shop offers.

At the shop end of the forecourt the site continues with the Dursley Garage work shop and a new and used car sales area.

Around the entrance to the shop is an ATM and a newspaper sales unit plus winter fuel bins.

SHOP: The Pace-branded shop is square, with shelving all around the walls and a unit diagonally across the centre. It is carpeted and needs a clean the whole shop needs smartening up.

Opposite the till area is a shelf on which sits a microwave, Nescafé & Go unit and a Pot Noodle hot water unit (almost a retro item these days!) and under the shelf were sacks of potatoes.

The food-to-go offer was limited to a basic range of sandwiches (some local) and savoury products. There was a small range of bread, morning goods and sweet pastries but it was poorly positioned and displayed.

Crisps, snacks and soft drinks were well covered. Perhaps lack of space necessitated the tight off licence and grocery range. But a lot of space was given to various non-food offers umbrellas, toys, winter hats as well as car care. Interesting sales priorities!

PROGNOSIS: The Wild Goose Garage is one of four owned by John Stayte Services all four units pump a different brand of fuel. In addition to its garage activities, the group is a main Calor Gas agent and they also sell gas appliances, solid fuel, animal feeds, fishing baits and red diesel. So, this is an enterprise, although geographically focused in Gloucestershire, with a diverse range of interests and investments.

DIAGNOSIS: The Wild Goose Garage at Dursley has recently won 'Best Pace Forecourt' in the 2014 SuperStation Awards, which is open to Certas Energy-supplied independent petrol retailers. Well done them it is a small forecourt that offers a good range of services and very competitive fuel prices.

The pole at Wild Goose Garage had been regularly damaged by vehicles. The solution was to remove it and display illuminated fuel prices on the canopy. In my view, a brilliant result.

PRESCRIPTION: The first job should be to 'spring clean' the shop. Next, change the ATM to a free-to-use machine.

The coffee boom shows no sign of slowing with more and more customers consuming on the go. I'd recommend investing in a larger-capacity unit. Might be worth a conversation with Costa/Tchibo et al? Space could be found by ditching the microwave and noodle hot water unit. Many customers buying a hot drink are tempted to buy a pastry at the same time. They could introduce a bake-off or bought-in range of croissants and artisan breads.

Price-marked products and £1 offers are producing massive sales, so make space for a limited, well-merchandised range

I never did find out why it's called Wild Goose Garage. They should tell the story and promote the 'new' shop on social media.

It's great to win a forecourt award... aim now for a shop award.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 2 October 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East120.5363.90127.17119.00
East Midlands120.03127.76118.80
London120.3757.90128.81118.85
North East119.80129.71118.46
North West120.19127.87118.63
Northern Ireland119.22125.23117.53
Scotland120.2463.80126.78118.50
South East120.7259.90129.39119.48
South West120.39128.00119.02
Wales120.0459.90126.47118.61
West Midlands120.0865.90128.12118.84
Yorkshire & Humber119.73127.02118.57

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