Up to 4 MLPA

David Penny & Vicky Hennessy

Penny Petroleum Jet Kirkmuirhill, South Lanarkshire

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.

Initially Penny Petroleum invested £100k in forecourt renovations and switched to Jet for fuel and Spar for the store. Then in January 2018, a £150k redevelopment and refit of the existing shop began. The investment has enabled Penny to completely change the store layout, add a number of new categories,

extend some existing categories and offer customers new services. The new planogram was based on previous sales performance and Penny’s in-depth understanding of its customer base, having traded at the store for 10 months. Category planograms and dedicated zones based on shoppers’ missions have vastly improved the shop’s layout, creating a spacious and bright store. All product ranges have been

moved around and into new zones, with clear Spar signage and pos.

Particularly noteworthy additions include a café- style space with charging points, free WiFi and a community board, creating a ’hub’ for local

residents; plus a theme- designed vast off-licence area, bespoke display of high-value spirits, and dedicated vape zone.

4 MLPA plus

Richard Garrie

Wilderhaugh Service Station, Galashiels

Richard Carrie, area manager at Adam Purves Galashiels, is nothing if not exhuberantly passionate about Wilderhaugh Service Station and its fightback to success following the arrival of a local supermarket four years ago, which knocked fuel volumes by 40% overnight. "We thought long and hard about how to tackle this," explains Richard. "We realised that one thing we can offer our customers that a local supermarket can’t, is good old-fashioned service. Even before Shell did it we put our own local attendants back on the forecourt and customers really appreciated it. We also launched a 10ppl-off fuel promotion for six months, which meant we were 7ppl cheaper than the local Asda. The promotion is linked to buying a car wash, and has been so successful we still run it occasionally. It’s essential to always create a buzz around the business."

An £80k shop refit and the introduction of Spar three years ago has also helped boost business. Charity and promotional events such as ’Lucky Pump Day’, run in conjunction with the local radio station, have helped put Wilderhaugh on the map. The site has just re-signed with Shell for five years and will be raising its canopy to 4.5m to attract the bigger vehicles used by local businesses.

"We’ve been totally blown away by winning this award. It’s a great boost for the guys, and recognition for everything we’ve achieved."

Northern Ireland

Up to 4 MLPA

Nigel Walker

Eurospar Hardford Link, Newtownards, County Down

It’s been an eventful time for the hard-working team at Eurospar Hardford Link, but store manager Nigel Walker is very proud of his staff, who have had to keep things running through a considerable upheaval over an eight month period last year, which saw the store nearly double in size to just under 6,000sq ft and the forecourt which was closed for four months redeveloped with new tanks. Located on a busy, transient road on the outskirts of Newtownards, the Eurospar site fully re-opened at the beginning of the year and now features jet wash, bulk fuels, additional parking, horticulture, defibrillator,

occasions gifting, Glastry ice-cream, customer toilets with baby changing facilities, and an expanded range across all fresh, frozen and grocery sections. "On top of that," explains Nigel, "most exciting is the new counters complementing a Daily Deli and Barista Bar. We also have a new bakery and a new butchers incorporated in the store, meaning we are a one-stop-shop. The customer reaction has been fantastic, and we are currently running 70% up like-for-like in the store.

"Winning the award was fantastic for everyone. We were so chuffed firstly, to be nominated, but then over the moon to win. We had a big celebration when I got back after the awards night. The award takes pride of place in the store, plus a banner at the front."

4 MLPA plus

Gerry Bennett

A26 Tannaghmore Services, Co Antrim

Much has already been written about this amazing operation that won the overall Forecourt Trader of the Year Award (see November 2018 issue). Winning the 4mlpa-plus category put the site in the league to win the big one, but even so, when the announcement came it was a shock for everyone on the Maxol table at the awards ceremony in London. "I was very surprised to win," said Gerry. "For me it’s recognition of all the hard work I’ve done here. I know I’m doing my job right. It’s a huge thing for Maxol, but it’s also a huge thing for the site and the staff. Everyone is very proud of the achivement and I’ve never been so photographed in all my life!" He says his strategy for running such a flourishing site is straightforward: "I’m on the shop floor a lot more than most managers for at least 50% of the time! A26 Tannaghmore is Maxol’s largest service station in Northern Ireland. It opened in May 2017 following a £3.75m spend to create a cutting-edge development incorporating the latest in forecourt design and eco technology. The forecourt includes a dedicated truck facility, maxWash car wash and parking for 45 vehicles. The 8,000sq ft modern building offers seating for 100 people.

Quality fresh food is a priority, hence customers have an extensive, wide-ranging choice when it comes to grocery and food offerings.

Specialist Categories

Best car care

Woodman Service Station

Leeds, West Yorkshire

Woodman Service Station has recently added an extra 1m bay of car care products, making 5m in total, ensuring the store has a comprehensive and competitive range, with price points to suit all budgets. The special attention to the category is clearly paying off, as like-for-like sales have increased by around 30% over the past year.

All car care products are merchandised together near the most visible part of the store, so customers are able to find what they need easily and quickly. All leading brands are situated at eye level to signpost the category to customers. But, as some customers will have a specific budget in mind, products are ordered by price high to low to make it easier for customers to find items that suit their budget. Promotions are also placed in and around the store and near the entrance to ensure they are seen. Point-of-sale material is used to highlight promotions and the epos system reminds staff to promote products located near the till points, to encourage further sales.

best coffee & hot beverages

Newmarket Filling Station

Lewes, East Sussex

Newmarket Filling Station was a new-to-industry site when it opened in August 2017 and was the first outlet in the country to feature the new Smokin’ Bean premium coffee concept from Tchibo.

The Smokin Bean concept offers a premium artisan-style coffee experience while retaining the benefit of self service. It also ticks all the boxes when it comes to ethical sourcing and sustainability. The coffee is triple certified: Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade and Organic.

The connoisseur quality coffee can be served in an environmentally friendly 100% compostable and biodegradable cup or in one of Smokin’ Bean keepsake cups.

Also served at Newmarket Filling Station is a fine range of award- winning Suki Teas.

These ethically-sourced loose leaf teas are also triple certified and have recently been nominated as one of the Top 50 products in the UK.

A variety of gluten-free snacks and treats are served alongside these drinks.

community engagement

EuroSpar Carrick Milestone

Carrickfergus, Co Antrim

Being an integral part of the local community is very important to EuroSpar Carrick Milestone. As such, the store has close links with local schools, churches, youth and charity groups. For example, it sponsored the local primary school’s sports day by donating kit and refreshments for all the athletes.

The shop also has a great relationship with the local scout group. It sponsors their clean-up walk of Loughshore Beach every year and staff go along and help pick up the rubbish. We also supply refreshments to all the kids and leaders involved.

The EuroSpar signed up with the Now group, which aims to get young people with learning difficulties/ disabilities into the workplace. Management offered a placement to Christopher Finnegan who had previously struggled to find anywhere willing to offer him work experience. He impressed them so much, with his hard work and determination, that they offered him a job. He has been employed for some time now and is a valuable member of the team.