Maxol’s A26 Tannaghmore Services in County Antrim took the top honours at this year’s Forecourt Trader Awards, held last month at the London Hilton on Park Lane. Maxol director Barry McMullan and site manager Patrick Bennett were presented with the prestigious Forecourt Trader of the Year trophy, following a night of celebrations as guests from all sectors of the industry applauded the long line-up of winners. The glamorous evening was hosted by Kimberley Walsh singer-songwriter and former member of girl band Girls Aloud. A packed evening of entertainment included cancan dancers, Scalextric, casino, photo booth, Call of Duty gaming pod as well as an after dinner bar and dancing into the early hours. Read on for a full rundown of winners.
Awards Winners 2018
forecourt trader of the year 2018
Barry McMullan, Patrick Bennett, Tannaghmore Services
scotland up to 4mlpa
Vicky Hennessy & David Penny, Jet Kirkmuirhill
scotland 4mlpa plus
Richard Garrie, Wilderhaugh Service Station
northern ireland up to 4mlpa
Nigel Walker, Eurospar Hardford Link
northern ireland 4mlpa plus
Patrick Bennett, Maxol A26 Tannaghmore Services
midlands up to 4mlpa
Rubesh Navaratnam, Rontec Bilston
midlands 4mlpa plus
Jonathan & Nick Fraser, Fraser’s Budgens of Yarnton
northern england up to 4mlpa
Christian Jones, Spar Threshfield
northern england 4mlpa plus
Nick Baker, Jet Abbeyside Service Station
west country & wales up to 4mlpa
Paul Merriman, Gulf Kiln Park Service Station
west country & Wales 4mlpa plus
Philip Powell, Lock’s Garage
london & south east up to 4mlpa
Thianis Marcelene, MFG Shell Catford Service Station
london & south east 4mlpa plus
Jonathan & Nick Fraser, Budgens Three Mile Cross
best motorway services outlet
Sanj Kular, Shell Cobham Motorway Services
best care care & lubricants outlet
Ziheed Mohammed, Woodman Service Station
best coffee and hot beverages
Claire Partridge, Newmarket Filling Station
best community engagement
Adele Brown, Eurospar Carrick Milestone
best customer service
Christopher McKee, Spar Ravenhill Road
best design & development
John Diviney, Applegreen Spaldwick
best food-to-go outlet
Terry Mulkerns, Mulkerns Eurospar
best forecourt innovation
Sanj Kular, Shell Beaconsfield Motorway Services
best forecourt loo
Mohan Yogarajah, MFG BP Crow Orchard Service Station
best forecourt team
Joanne Walker, Eurospar Carrowdore
best site manager
Chris Hamilton, Spar Ravenhill Road
best soft drinks outlet
Ziheed Mohammed, Woodman Service Station
best valeting facilities
Sarah Ibbetson, Skyway Filling Station
Gulf special recognition award (reader vote)
Best oil company initiative highly commended
best oil company initiative winner
winner: Barry McMullan & Patrick Bennett Maxol, A26 Tannaghmore Services
Maxol director Barry McMullan (left) and site manager Patrick Bennett collected the most prestigious retailer accolade of the year when they were presented with the Forecourt Trader Awards trophy, for the company’s Tannaghmore Services site on the A26 in County Antrim. The £3.75m development was opened in May 2017 the largest in the company’s network offering the latest in forecourt design. It has been constructed and fitted out using cutting edge technology to harness solar energy and harvest rain water to ensure it has a low-carbon footprint. The site offers a fully equipped dedicated truck facility, car wash, seating for 100 people, free wi-fi and parking for 45 vehicles. Quality fresh food is a priority for Maxol and it opened NI’s first Freshly Chopped at the site. It also offers a ’Skip the Que’ option with Freshly Chopped’s online app; plus Abrakebabra, Ireland’s leading quick-service restaurant chain. It also recently opened a purpose-built Ground Espresso Bar NI’s largest independently owned artisan coffee chain.
Best Car Care & Lubricants Outlet
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Graham Tissiman, sales and marketing manager of Convenience Distribution Group, present Ziheed Mohammed with the award for Best Car Care & Lubricants Outlet.
The staff at Woodman Service Station understand that place, promotion and product are key factors in selling a product, so all car care products are merchandised together near the most visible part of the store, so customers are easily able to find them.
Also winner of Best Soft Drinks Outlet.
Scotland: Up to 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (left), and Richard Billington (right), retail director at Gulf, present David Penny and Vicky Hennessy with the award for Best Site in Scotland (up to 4mlpa).
Kirkmuirhill Service Station was acquired by Penny Petroleum in March 2017. The site, which opens 7am11pm seven days a week, is located in a prime position on the main road through the village of Kirkmuirhill, near Lanark and Junction 9 of the M74 motorway. In January 2018, a £150k redevelopment and refit of the existing shop began, which enabled the company to completely change the store.
Best Coffee & Hot Beverages
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Paul Chadderton, managing director of Smokin’ Bean, present Claire Partridge with the award for Best Coffee & Hot Beverages.
Newmarket Filling Station was a new-to-industry site opened in August 2017 and a key part of the new offer was the Smokin’ Bean concept which offers a premium artisan-style coffee experience while still retaining the benefit of self service. The coffee is triple certified: Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade and organic. It can be served in Smokin’ Bean keepsake cups or compostable and biodegradable cups.
Scotland: More than 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Richard Garrie with the award for Best Site in Scotland (4mlp-plus).
Adam Purves was established in 1879 and is extremely passionate about providing a good local service to its customers. When Asda opened a mile away it jeopardised the business. The owners thought long and hard and decided to fight back and reclaim their old customers. They enlisted the services of Shell and local media to hold open days, promoting its good work and raising funds for charity. Their hard work and determination has paid off.
Best Community Engagement
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Ian Cotton, head of communications and community at Essar Oil UK, present Adele Brown with the award for Best Community Engagement.
Being an integral part of the local community is very important to Eurospar Carrick Milestone, and this is reflected in its community involvement as well as charity fundraising. The site has close links with local schools, churches, youth and charity groups, supporting them with raffle prizes, sports kits and refreshments.
Northern Ireland: Up to 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (left) and Richard Billington (right), retail director at Gulf, present Nigel Walker with the award for Best Site in Northern Ireland (up to 4mlpa).
Hardford Link is a welcome sight for customers following its recent renovation, which has doubled the size of the store and introduced a new shopping experience to the community. Located on a busy transient road on Newtownards outskirts, the site now has jet wash, bulk fuels, water/air/vacuum, eight pump locations, multiple car parking spaces, plus a defibrillator. It also has a great range of categories including gifting and Glastry ice-cream.
Best Customer Service
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Steve Dyas (right), head of convenience at JTI, present Christopher McKee with the award for Best Customer Service.
Great customer service is obviously key to any retail store being successful, and the company employs an outside organisation which carries out ’mystery shopper missions’ once a month. In recent months the site has achieved an outstanding average score of 94%, the result of a lot of training and hard work improving service and interaction skills to make the customer experience the best it can be.
Northern Ireland: More than 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Patrick Bennett with the award for Best Site in Northern Ireland (4mlpa-plus).
Maxol endeavours to provide customers with extensive, wide-ranging choice when it comes to grocery and food offerings to meet their ever-demanding lifestyles and A26 Tannaghmore embodies this ambition effortlessly with an exciting range of cutting-edge food options in a modern and welcoming environment.
Also winner of Forecourt Trader of the Year 2018.
Best Design & Development
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Luke Baker (right), sales manager from Harvest Energy, present John Diviney with the award for Best Design & Development.
Spaldwich was built with innovation and customer satisfaction in mind, keeping an eye on modern convention and a desire to show a pioneering service area to the modern UK consumer. The forecourt easily accessed from the A14 offers abundant parking with up to 44 spaces, plus a huge store featuring convenience and extensive food and beverage offers including Costa, Greggs and Subway.
Midlands: Up to 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Rubesh Navaratnam with the award for Best Site in the Midlands (up to 4mlpa).
Rontec Bilston was one of the original Morrisons Daily trial stores. It was a finalist in last year’s awards and has now moved a big step up in winning the Midlands category. The store continues to be a success with sales now edging towards £30,000 per week. The key areas of success are the food-to-go and the bakery, which are used by local students. Rontec has worked closely with Morrisons on its chilled, ambient and promotional lines.
Best Food-to-Go Outlet
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Tony Owen (right), sales & marketing director from Rollover, present Terry Mulkerns with the award for Best Food-to-Go Outlet.
Mulkerns’ food-to-go offer has been a driving force for the business over the past 12 months, growing at 50% year-on-year. The site identified customer needs for convenient, quick-and-easy meal solutions, minimising the time and effort of preparing meals day-to-day. As well as chilled ready meals and a traditional deli and sandwich bar, hot food is available every day breakfast, lunch and evening meal.
Midlands: More than 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Jonathan (second left) and Nick Fraser with the award for Best Site in the Midlands (more than 4mlpa).
This award-winning site now in its 8th year continues to show growth while keeping ahead of the competition, with ever-increasing standards, a strong offer, excellent facilities and great customer service. The site really showcases the best in class while keeping its core value as the heart of the community. A recent refit has brought a new lease of life to this already busy and effective store.
Best Forecourt Innovation
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Steve Fox (right), managing director of the Booker Group, present Sanj Kular (second left) with the award for Best Forecourt Innovation.
With the uncertainty over future fuels, a very significant initiative at Shell Beaconsfield took place earlier this year when it became the first site in the UK to launch hydrogen as a mainstream fuel in that the pump that dispenses the fuel was installed under the same canopy as the other grade pumps. This is a first in the UK and recognises hydrogen as a long-term fuel alternative.
Northern England: Up to 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Christian Jones with the award for Best Site in Northern England (up to 4mlpa).
The Spar Threshfield forecourt and convenience store opened in August 2017, after an absence of any store on this rural site for over two years. It is a welcoming and well-maintained forecourt in front of an attractive stone-built store in keeping with the local area. From the forecourt services, spacious parking areas and handy motoring accessories section, to the toilet facilities, BBQ and fuel bunker, the site attempts to respond to every motorist’s needs.
Best Forecourt Loo
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Tracy Stirling, national sales manager at Fast Trak, present Mohan Yogarajah with the award for Best Forecourt Loo.
This flagship MFG site underwent a major development, both externally and internally, with a particular focus on the customer toilet facilities which have certainly become a talking point. They feature visually stunning fish graphics, the like of which have never been see before on a forecourt.If you were looking for Nemo and friends, here they are! But it’s not just the graphics, the facilities are excellent.
Northern England: More than 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Nick Baker with the award for Best Site in Northern England (4mlpa-plus).
Abbeyside is an all-singing, all-dancing 24/7 double-storey 2,000sq ft Jet and Spar dual-branded convenience destination designed to cater for today’s time-poor consumers. It boasts a vast variety of products and facilities, including an in-store Subway Metro counter and its own very popular ’Cheeky Cafe’ large enough for 60 customers. The site is meticulously maintained thanks to a daily in-store cleaner and two external cleaners.
Best Forecourt Team
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Daniel Eversfield, commercial manager of The Forecourt Show, present Joanne Walker with the award for Best Forecourt Team.
As well as taking pride in maintaining high standards of store discipline keeping it clean, tidy and well merchandised, the team at Carrowdore has created a friendly and homely atmosphere in-store, which helps with customer engagement. They have also taken part in some great community events in the past year, such as coffee mornings, dress-up events, giveaways and school events.
West Country and Wales: Up to 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right), and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Paul Merriman with the award for Best Site in the West Country & Wales.
Kiln Park Service Station is as much a hub haven for holidaymakers as it is for the local community. Customer feedback has led to big changes in the past 12 months. All the pumps have been replaced with Tokheim Quantium 510 dispensers, giving customers a cleaner, faster and more reliable service and premium Gulf fuels have been introduced. The shop layout has changed to challenge the threat from a new Co-op, boosting basket spend.
Best Site Manager
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Sonke Voges, retail business manager at Jet, present Christopher McKee with the award for Best Site Manager on behalf of Chris Hamilton, who was unable to attend.
Chris Hamilton says his role is to have a happy and motivated workforce, with friendly, smiley outgoing staff who have the right attitude for the business, which includes a busy programme of community engagement. He aims to lead by example, and believes his approach is simple talk, listen, be happy, encourage, praise, and be open and honest.
West Country and Wales: More than 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right), and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Philip Powell with the award for Best Site in the West Country & Wales.
Lock’s garage has been a hub for the local farming community for around 100 years and owned by the Powell family for 50 years. The site has continued to thrive and develop as a ’trading stop’ for all types of fuel, groceries, farm supplies and accessories for country pursuits. The site additionally incorporates the valuable local resource of a Post Office. As well as the usual small supermarket range, the Londis store also stocks locally produced meat and veg.
Best Soft Drinks Outlet
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager of Coca-Cola European Partners, present Ziheed Mohammed with the award for Best Soft Drinks Outlet.
Woodman Service Station has a superb range of soft drinks and the category accounts for a major percentage of the store’s sales, with between 400-500 units sold every day. Soft drinks occupy a full wall of glass door chillers, a chill island and in a number of stacks around the store.
Also winner of Best Car Care & Lubricants Outlet.
London and South East: Up to 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right), and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Thianis Marcelene with the award for Best Site in London and the South East (up to 4mlpa).
A busy south London site, the staff at the Catford service station aim to operate to the highest of standards, with friendly customer service at the core of everything they do. The site features a spacious, clean and welcoming forecourt with a range of well-maintained facilities. It has plenty of space for the constant stream of traffic pulling on and off the site, attracted by the forecourt and Budgens store.
Best Valeting Facilities
Awards host Kimberley Walsh, and Kevin Pay, managing director of Wilcomatic (right) present Sarah Ibbetson (second right) with the award for Best Valeting Facilities.
The valeting facilities are a key part of the customer proposition at Skyway Filling Station. They are provided within a landscaped, well laid out, dedicated area of the forecourt. The equipment is well maintained and regularly checked. The new rollover wash is equipped with remote monitoring direct to the service provider so that any issues can be quickly identified and resolved.
London and South East: More than 4MLPA
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present Jonathan (second left) and Nick Fraser with the award for Best Site in London and South East (4mlpa-plus).
From the moment a customer drives onto Fraser’s BP/Budgens site their fuelling and shopping experience is a pleasure. Clean and modern pumps advertising in-store promotions, ample parking for shop-only customers, bright LED lighting, high ceiling and wide aisles give a feeling of spaciousness, creating an enjoyable environment that also provides excellent accessibility for all.
Best Motorway Services
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (far left), retail director at Gulf, present Sanj Kular (second left) with the award for Best Motorway Services.
Shell Cobham is Shell’s flagship site as well as claiming to be the biggest fuel station in the UK and the biggest success story for the brand. It services 3,000 customers a day, yet continues to deliver exceptional standards and a great customer experience for all its visitors. Last year it was visited by Forecourt Trader’s Shop Doctor unannounced and was awarded an exceptional score of 10 out of 10.
Special Recognition Award
Awards host Kimberley Walsh (right) and Richard Billington (left), retail director at Gulf, present David Penny with the Gulf Special Recognition Award decided following a public vote via Forecourt Trader’s dedicated website.
Currently the Penny Petroleum portfolio encompasses 48 sites across the North of England and Scotland. David’s skills as an inspirational leader and innovative thinker have led to many of the sites in the Penny Petroleum portfolio increasing shop turnover by huge amounts and, in their wake, increasing fuel sales. The team he has built over the past 10 years mostly comes from long-serving staff.
Best Oil Company Initiative
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Val Kirilovs (right), research & insights director at HIM, present Barry McMullan, Maxol director, with the Highly Commended Award for Best Oil Company Initiative.
To help shine a light on mental health and wellbeing, Maxol teamed up with its charity partner, Aware, to raise money for them with a Christmas coffee cup campaign. Maxol donated 10c/10p from every hot beverage purchased to Aware. In order to bring the campaign to life, Maxol also created festive cups to encourage social media activity.
Best Oil Company Initiative
Awards host Kimberley Walsh and Val Kirilovs (right), research & insights director at HIM, present Callum Hook, retail HSSE manager at Shell, and Patsy Drozdz, territory manager at Shell, with the Winner’s Award for Best Oil Company Initiative.
Staff research gave Shell a real understanding of just how negatively health and safety was being perceived on its forecourts so it launched ’Go Home Well’ as a call to action, making health and safety matter to all in the business and their loved ones, via a variety of initiatives.