scotland: up to 4 mlpa
Penny Petroleum’s Auld Brig Filling Station in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, is open 24 hours a day to meet the needs of all its customers, including truckers.
The Londis-branded shop is well known for its Costa Coffee offer and Country Choice hot food area, which has recently been revamped and upgraded. Linked deals (Costa coffee and a hot sausage roll, for example) go down well.
A recent development in the store is a pet-food area selling food in bulk as well as associated products such as toys and equipment.
Faclities across the site are top-notch, with a customer washroom, external ATM, and a seating area where customers can take advantage of free wi-fi and Sky TV showing news and other current affairs programmes.
Community involvement comes from supporting local charities and running in-store prize draws.
Finally, Auld Brig makes the most of its stunning position with an outdoor seating area where customers can relax and take in the beautiful views.
northern ireland: up to 4 mlpa
The idea behind Casey’s Eurospar Crossmaglen in Newry was to give shoppers a cutting edge supermarket with a modern design to deliver the best possible shopping experience. The shop boasts a butchery, deli, restaurant and café and receives daily deliveries of local produce to ensure it is always supplying high quality, fresh goods.
All the meat for the butchery counter, for example, comes from Coole Park Farm, which guarantees quality, traceability and freshness. Pre-packed meat is prepared each day by the store’s own butchers who are always available to provide advice. The store also boasts a fresh fish counter. An in-store bakery has a range of fresh goods provided by local bakeries. For busy shoppers on the go there is a full deli and hot-food counter with all food prepared daily in-store by Casey’s own in-house chefs. Goodies available include homemade coleslaw, salads, quiche, pies and sandwiches (which are made while you wait) as well as soup and pizza.
A huge team of 85 local, friendly staff look after the store.
scotland: 4 mlpa plus
Carronvale Service Station in Larbet near Stirling has seen its fortunes turn around since it was bought by Certas Energy and rebranded as a Gulf site back in 2011. A complete site overhaul turned it into a modern forecourt with a 24-hour Londis convenience store that’s open 365 days a year.
The next improvement saw the on-site Londis store refitted, with opening hours extended to 24 hours.
The shop offers Costa Coffee, food-to-go and an off-licence, and prides itself that it competes with the supermarkets on price but beats them hands down for convenience and customer service.
Manager Derek Paton says: "The joint efforts of Gulf, Certas and on-site staff have proven to be a winning combination which has enabled us to deliver our products and services to the highest retailing standards and secure a loyal customer base."
Derek is supported by Certas cluster manager, Senga Mulrine, to steer the site towards continued progression and hopefully more awards recognition.
northern ireland: 4 mlpa plus
This year, Spar Ballyclare Milestone was pinpointed by owner the Henderson Group for a massive investment and it certainly paid off. The idea was to improve on-site facilities and add the new Deli Daily concept. So today the store offers customers an in-store bakery/deli, Subway, Streat coffee bar, Quinns gelato bar, Chinese restaurant plus all your usual convenience staples. The redesign of the shop has meant more space for fresh items with fresh produce, flowers and dairy all situated at the front.
The development also included a total forecourt rebranding with updated Maxol pole sign, canopy and pump fascia.
New pumps have been a welcome addition; there has been plenty of positive feedback from customers especially commercial drivers who appreciate the two fast-flow pumps and the speedy fill-ups they offer.
Assistant store manager Daniel Mellor has nothing but praise for the staff, saying they reacted positively to all the changes and kept customers up to date with all that was happening.
Best Car care and lubricants outlet - sponsored by CDG
The impressive car care and lubricants section at Fraser’s Budgens of Marlborough is placed in a strategic position opposite the tills. The fact that it is a high-volume category for the shop is reflected in the 2.6m of space it gets, with three shelves for lubes and two for car care/travel accessories.
Fraser’s Budgens’ director Nick Fraser says: "We have recognised the importance of ensuring a good selection of products relevant to the local customers, allocating a large area to valeting and maintenance products. There is also a high proportion of space allocated to travel accessories, phone charging accessories, tow ropes and jump leads."
The oil section contains brand-leading Castrol alongside equivalent grades from Comma for more price-conscious customers. Oil recommendation guides are available, backed up by friendly, knowledgeable staff who are always keen to offer help and advice.
Best Community engagement - sponsored by Mars chocolate UK
Gloucester Services’s community engagement is embodied by its position as the UK’s first and indeed only motorway services to donate a percentage of its revenue to charity. It does this via its own charity arm Gloucester Gateway Trust and around £10m is expected to be donated to six local charities over 20 years. What is more, these charities’ work is communicated at Gloucester Services via murals and a gallery.
One-third of the jobs at the Services have been filled by the Trust’s academy which aims to get the long-term unemployed back to work.
Further community engagement comes from the site’s deals with over 130 local farmers, producers and emerging businesses all sited within a 30-mile radius. In its first year alone, Gloucester Services placed orders worth over £2m with these firms.
best Customer Service - sponsored by JTI
HKS Meteor might be a busy 24-hour site but it still manages to offer excellent customer service. Most customers are from the local village of South Normanton with the rest popping in from a nearby industrial estate or passing through from the M1.
Many of the staff live locally too and so have built relationships with customers and know them on a first name basis. They are often complimented on their friendly customer service, even receiving letters from grateful customers. One such letter writer was a lady on her own, whose car had broken down on a very cold night. Staff invited her to wait in the store, called a breakdown service, made her a hot drink and generally looked after her.
The shop houses the village post office, which is an invaluable service to locals. There is also a customer toilet and standards are maintained via regular checks. Indeed many customers have commented that it is the best loo for miles.