We kick off our focus on our Award winners with the victors from Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as from three Specialist Categories
scotland: 4 mlpa plus
Lomondgate Service Station is a fantastic development on a 1.1 acre site off the A82 on a very busy trading park. The site was acquired in October 2013 and developed following a £3m-plus investment. It was the first new-to-industry development in Scotland for Euro Garages and quickly established itself as a popular destination with the local catchment area of 100,000 people and a population of 2.3 million living within an hour’s drive in Glasgow and the surrounding areas. It is also a great stopping point for tourists travelling to and beyond Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, with its Spar convenience store, Subway, Greggs and Starbucks on the Go concessions. Other facilities include spacious inside seating and well-appointed disabled and baby-changing washroom facilities. Hence fuel volumes have quickly grown to more than 8mlpa. Commercial director Ilyas Munshi says: "Only by providing customes with truly enjoyable products that satisfy a wide range of tastes and lifestyles will Euro Garages continue to grow."
northern ireland: up to 4 mlpa
Barbican Supervalu in Newcastle, County Down, recently benefited from a £300,000-plus refit with a focus on fresh foods, food-to-go and coffee. New energy-saving chiller cabinets with doors on were installed as well as LED lighting, a new produce unit and a new meat serve-over including a butcher’s block to allow for interaction with the customers.
The investment has paid off with sales growth overall of 5% expected this year. However, several categories are experiencing much greater growth thanks to the refit, with deli sales up 31%, produce up 35% and coffee up a whopping 54%. The business takes pride in maintaining the highest possible standards to create the ’perfect shopping experience’ for customers.
Manager Gary Elliott says the Forecourt Trader Awards’ win has been good for staff morale and will be communicated to customers when the store’s new Facebook profile and website go live.
"Remaining competitive is a daily challenge but business is good, plus we have had good feedback about our refit," he says.
northern ireland: 4 mlpa plus
Having won the award for the 4mlpa-plus category last year, it was Spar Ballyclare Milestone’s ambition to win again in 2016 and it did. That’s because the business has gone from strength to strength, with sales from the shop and of fuel both increasing every week.
Standards are kept high across the store and the management has instigated what it called ’two-hour rumbles’ where every two hours the whole store is faced up so it continues to look its best.
New staff have been added to the team to cope with increased sales. They have been trained using the SPARkling service platform to ensure customers get the best service possible. They also follow the ’Non-Negotiable’ service standards set by their head office.
The Spar store has a wide and varied offer including a deli, Quinns ice cream bar, Subway and Bambou Chinese restaurant and takeaway.
Manager Kerry Higgins said it was really great to win again and it definitely helped with staff morale and ensuring that they maintain their high standards.
Best Car care and lubricants outlet - sponsored by CDG
At Sewell on the go Hull West, in the car care and lubricants section, they stock everything from screen wash to oils and high-vis jackets. Louise Alexander, retail manager at the site, said: "As we cater for a wide range of drivers, from trucks to cars, you have to make sure the range is varied to meet their needs.
"We sell all kinds of products, including windscreen wipers, which are particularly useful in bad weather, which is a great help to motorists. In winter, we sell boots, hats, gloves and high visibility jackets, while the summer months see thinner high visibility vests and jackets on sale.
"It’s about listening to your customers, as a lot of what we stock has been requested by them, and we also arrange special orders, such as for boots."
Louise collected the Forecourt Trader award on behalf of the team on the night of the awards and said it was amazing: "The atmosphere was fantastic and we’re really proud."
Best Community engagement - sponsored by HTEC
Sewell on the go Maybury has been working with its local community for over 20 years and built up significant relationships.
Karl Screeton, retail manager at the site, which picked up the award for Best Community Engagement, said: "Looking after the community builds up trust and, if you look after people, they are likely to come back because it creates loyalty.
"When our store closed for refurbishment from April to June 2015, we delivered newspapers, bread and milk to our regular customers, many of whom are elderly.
"We even help our local customers carry their shopping home if they can’t manage. As a business, Sewell on the go is very customer-focused and it was certainly a very proud moment to collect the award on behalf of the team. Giving back is a fundamental part of our values."
scotland: up to 4 mlpa
Co-op Earlston Filling Station is a 3,900 sq ft convenience store and 16-nozzle Jet petrol station which opened in December 2016 following a £400K transformation of a former car showroom and petrol station. Forty per cent of customers are lorry drivers, holiday makers and day trippers, while 60% come from Earlston Town and surrounding areas. The site was originally going to be redeveloped just as a convenience store, but it was soon realised that removing the forecourt facilities would be depriving the local community of a key asset, according to the Co-op’s national fuels manager Eddie Jenkinson: "The re-opening of the petrol station alongside a new and extended shop has resulted in both shop and fuel sales exceeding first-year expectations, which demonstrates the significance of the forecourt convenience sector. Co-op staff actively engage and support local community groups and the Co-op’s new membership offer of 5% discount for members and 1% for local community projects on all Co-op branded goods and services is proving very popular."