We catch up with more Forecourt Trader of the Year 2015 regional award winners as well as three from the specialist categories
midlands: up to 4 mlpa
Bought by the Cheema family in December 2013, Malcolm’s Stores Nisa Local in Coventry has benefited from substantial investment and development. Coupled with a change in trading partner to Nisa this has resulted in the shop turnover rising from £14,000 to £26,500 a week. Brothers Paul and Pinda Cheema say this is largely due to the fact that the site has changed from just a fuel and top-up shop to a destination food shop.
As well as a full grocery offering, the store boasts an off licence section and food-to-go via Jack’s Beans coffee and Rollover hot dogs. Meal deals have been a big success across breakfast, lunch and dinner. The evening meal deal has been achieved largely through the use of the Nisa Heritage own label for example two jalfrezi curries and two bottles of Cobra for a certain price.
The family has invested in energy-saving refrigeration including chillers with doors as well as LED lighting throughout. Their next investment will be the installation of pay-at-pump so drivers can refuel after 10pm when the store closes.
northern england: up to 4 mlpa
Filey Service Station in Lebberston near Scarborough is an immaculately maintained seasonal site where two-thirds of the trade occurs between April and September. A recent £500,000 redevelopment means it now boasts five pumps, a 2,300sq ft convenience store, ample parking, an easy-to-access forecourt and state-of-the-art, energy-saving innovation and technology used throughout the forecourt and shop.
Services and facilities across the site include lottery, Paypoint, free-to-use ATM, free air and water (with separate facilities for HGVs), jet wash, vacuum, coal, bottled gas and logs. Five different fuel types are available (diesel, unleaded, super unleaded, red diesel and Sentinel diesel).There is also an in-store Costa coffee machine plus a seating area.
The store is well stocked so it can cater for the grab-and-go shopper as well as those who want to do a bigger basket shop. The site prides itself on delivering "old-fashioned service" with a welcoming atmosphere. Well-trained staff have good local knowledge and a "nothing is ever too much trouble" attitude.
midlands: 4 mlpa plus
HKS Sandringham, with its BP, Costa, Spar and Subway brands, is on the busy A607 at the start of the famous Golden Mile into Leicester. It’s HKS’ concept store and so boasts the benefits of the latest technology and design.
The brightly lit forecourt has a jet wash, free air and an ATM as well as plenty of parking spaces for customers who want to browse in the shop.
LCD media screens on the pumps communicate offers and promotions that customers can find in-store.
Much use is made of LED lighting with lights illuminating the walkway to the shop at night, as well as lights in-store that change colour to highlight the promotional gondola ends.
Other innovations include the HKS Café with free wifi and plenty of USB ports and electrical sockets. There’s also a tobacco dispenser which selects the products requested and maintains its own item inventory.
The site is in the heart of the local Asian community so a lot of effort has gone into sourcing Asian foods.
northern england: 4 mlpa plus
Rocky and Alison Leach redeveloped Chellow Heights Service Station in Bradford in 2013 with an investment of £850,000, doubling the shop size to just under 3,000sq ft.
As a result, fuel sales have grown by 15% to a turnover of 6.1mlpa and shop turnover has increased from £27,000 to £40,000 a week, despite strong local competition from Tesco Express and Co-op. The couple put their success down to quality fuels and a strong branded convenience store delivered via Shell and Spar respectively.
Customer service is a key part of their offer. "We ensure that we meet the needs of our multi-cultural customers by having a team which can communicate in various languages," explains Rocky. "Staff take pride in their working environment and are involved in not just serving customers but stock replenishment and rotation."
Both Rocky and Alison pride themselves on being pro-active on the shopfloor where they are keen to lead by example
best design & development - sponsored by harvest retail
Low impact on the immediate landscape, the views and the environment were all major factors when the design of Forecourt Trader of the Year 2015, Gloucester Serevices, was first considered. The entire motorway services area both forecourt/kiosk and extensive retail offer is set down into the site, to reduce its obvious presence and give the feeling that it has been carved out of the hillside.
The result is stunning, through extensive use of timber and glass, with the petrol forecourt stripped back to just two elements a wall with a kiosk in it and the canopy. And the 60m canopy is covered in a wildflower meadow to help it blend in. The rear wall and kiosk are clad in locally sourced dry-stone walling, reflecting the rural site, but in a contemporary way. Laurence King, managing director of Gloucester Services’ owner Westmorland Ltd, believes it may be the only dry-stone walled petrol filling station in the UK.
best food-to-go outlet - sponsored by rollover
At Casey’s Eurospar Crossmaglen, the food-to-go offer includes a hot food counter, sandwich/deli bar, dessert stand and a ’heat & eat’ section. There’s also an in-store café which gives customers the chance to sit and relax.
To help drive sales across the foodservice area, they have introduced lunch time school specials and also cater for parties and other functions. And to promote the cake and dessert section, there’s a birthday cake order and collection service.
Altogether the hot food, deli and ’heat & eat’ departments account for 20% of store sales and are still a growing part of the business. Growth has been attributed to good availability of products at all times. The extra focus on foodservice has been good for coffee sales too, which have more than doubled.
To reward local customers, a loyalty card scheme gives triple points on breakfast, lunch and dinner specials.
best FORECOURT INNOVATION - sponsored by londis
Tout’s Budgens of Langford’s shop extension and refit is being used as the basis for Tout’s future expansion. The development includes 50% more floor space, 21 more car parking spaces, more checkouts to reduce queuing, the addition of a Subway, more fresh foods, more use of local suppliers, installation of energy efficient fridges and LED lighting, as well as upgrades for the tills and IT. During the planning stages, Tout’s got the local community involved to ensure the company was meeting all of its shoppers’ needs.
The plan was to create a new model dubbed ’The Future of Neighbourhood Retailing’. Currently Tout’s has two Budgens forecourts, a Budgens supermarket and a convenience store, one pharmacy and three Subways.
But the company’s goal is, by 2025, to have 10 forecourt sites, all selling more than 4mlpa with good shop and Subway sales, as well as five pharmacies.