Midlands: up to 2.5mlpa

In 2012, family-run Hockmeyer Motors in Holdingham, Leicestershire took a huge leap by turning its back on 40 years of car sales knocking through into the car showroom and extending the Spar store to 2,100sq ft.

Rachael Hockmeyer (pictured) says before making the decision, the family looked at the local ’masterplan’ and learnt that up to 1,000 new houses were planned on their doorstep in the next five years. The family spoke to regulars before the refit and found out that they wanted automatic doors, more space to get around inside the shop, a nicer loo, fruit and veg and a more extensive off licence range.

The Hockmeyers provided all this and, in addition, doubled the fridge space, introduced freshly baked bread, home-made sandwiches, extended the hot food and added Costa Coffee.

Rachael says: "By taking part fully in all Spar promotions, having leaflets delivered and holding open days, and even by advertising on the radio, we are determined to encourage new customers and then keep them as regulars."

Midlands: 2.5mlpa plus

Nick Fraser of Fraser’s Retail says staff at Fraser’s Budgens Yarnton in Oxfordshire work tirelessly to ensure theirs is the convenience store of choice. As a result, the site has seen continuous growth in all aspects of the business since opening in 2009. He says: "We pride ourselves in selling locally sourced food as well as giving strong value to our customers.
"We reinforce these messages with four local supplier event days and also use Tesco price match and the Budgens SuperValu range to reinforce value."
He reinforces customer relationships via a Platinum Club complete with loyalty card and regular special offers for members. In addition, there are member evenings where local suppliers are invited to share their expertise. In 2013 there were two such evenings with a local florist and wine supplier. The store also runs Pensioner Days.

northern England: up to 2.5mlpa

G&E Milnthorpe in Milnthorpe, Cumbria is described as a "far from average petrol station". Although it has traded in the vilage for some time, it is now in new premises designed to be in keeping with the local area, using local stone and slate. But it’s a modern site, so as well as outdoor payment facilities, it has media screens on every pump which allow the owners to advertise all the latest offers.
The range across the store is specially selected to balance mainstream lines with a selection of locally sourced products. These include cakes from Apply Bakery, Kendal Mint Cake and ice cream sourced from English Lakes.
Says area manager Michelle Hall (pictured): "The store aims to cater for the needs of all of our customers whether they are doing a full weekly shop or buying a quick snack. This gives us the opportunity to connect with our customers and offer the widest range of products and services to the community."

northern England: 2.5mlpa plus

The stunning Calder Park Service Station in Wakefield won the industry’s highest accolade Forecourt Trader of the Year 2013 a feat the owners Euro Garages had previously achieved in 2011 with their Beehive site in Blackburn.
Calder Park represents a £2.5m investment for the company. The forecourt provides a wealth of services including eight pumps (including HGV), all grades of fuel, an air vac, two jet washes, washrooms and 40 parking spaces. Then there’s a Spar store complete with Subway with a lounge with seating and TV.
However, all services aside, it was actually the consistency of high forecourt and in-store standards as well as excellent customer service that made this site a winner. A minimum of three staff are on site at all times to maintain these exceptional standards.