No apologies for devoting half of this issue to the Forecourt Trader Awards! I think the nation’s hard-working forecourt retailers deserve a bit of recognition once in a while don’t you? Because the awards ceremony itself is not just a chance for a great night out  - and being photographed in a range of fancy adornments in the photo booth! - but it’s also about getting together with friends and colleagues and reflecting on the great achievements of the sector, how it’s evolved and continues to innovate in order to adapt to changing market conditions.

So, very big congratulations to everyone who took part, especially our overall winners, the amazing Garner family, who make it look easy, but in truth are meticulous and painstaking in their approach, not just to the project in hand, but on an ongoing basis on their sites, and most importantly, to their customers.

And as if to prove how innovation marches on, the very next day after the awards, saw an open day at the ’Guild Foods Market’ (see Retailer Insight, page 25). After a summer of ’oohing’ and ’aahing’ as we travelled the country looking at many forecourts as we judged the awards, so it continued on this unassuming BP forecourt in Guildford.

It’s not always possible and certainly not in upmarket towns to spread out over a big plot of land and redevelop from the ground up. But what owner Mayank Shah and retail consultant Gary Kemp have achieved, by combining and restructuring buildings and bits of space that have been acquired over the years, is quite stunning. But it’s not just the space they’ve created, but what they’ve filled it with; and the courage they’ve shown in doing it their own way, with many innovations, creating their own brand and branded areas in so many categories, and very specifically targeting generation Z, who after all, will be their future customers.

As to the future, the report from last month’s Frankfurt Motor Show (see News Extra, page 10), is food for thought. Car manufacturer Ford, whose cars have topped the UK sales charts for many years, predict that sales of its electrified cars will outnumber conventional diesel and petrol models by the end of 2022. That’s really not far away!