On a Monday, I typically get into work after I’ve dropped my youngest child off at school. A lot of the time we have someone who comes in at 6am to sort out the bread, milk and newspapers and then they open the shop at 7am.
We trade from 7am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 8am to 8pm on Sundays we need that extra hour on Sundays just to put the supplements in the newspapers!
I could open up every day and close every night but it would be too much. If a supervisor’s off I’ll jump in and cover but otherwise it’s good to have someone else to do it.
We have 32 staff all women they’re very good and keep me in check.
My wife Sarah focuses mostly on the office side of the business, on the admin. She also does a lot of replenishing and remerchandises units to make them look fresher.
We have three supervisors and an office manager. In fact my father Idris has just come back to work for us as a supervisor. He likes being back in the shop.
We’ve a mix of ages so everyone can go at their own pace.
The first thing I do when I get into the shop is catch up with the staff. I’ll make them a coffee and see how they’re doing.
We have a big delivery from Londis on a Monday so both Sarah and I help with that.
I like to be on the shopfloor as much as possible. It’s good for the staff and for the customers. Staff like to see me here although they say the business runs better without me! I think they like to see me rolling up my sleeves.
We’re in a rural community so sell coal, gas, heating oil and red diesel. Farmers use us for red diesel if they buy 100ltr from us, we give them 4p off per litre. It’s a popular offer but any large amounts of kerosene or red diesel we sell (100ltr-plus) have to be recorded with the name, address and licence plate of the driver. And we have to show that our purchases and our sales all add up.
The shop had a big refit five-to-six years before we bought it from my parents. Our Londis rep advised us to have another refit but as we were still increasing sales, we didn’t. We’d worked out a five-year plan and so had the refit in 2009. It was a big outlay for us; we moved our office upstairs and relocated the in-store bakery next to the till. Since then trade has gone from strength to strength, in fact we’ve doubled turnover.
The business has been with Londis and with Murco since 1996. It works for us as we have a good relationship with them both.
Trade mostly comes from locals from those in the immediate village plus from a couple of villages two or three miles away that no longer have a shop.
We also get passing trade from tradesmen we’re famous for our breakfast baguette which includes two sausages, two eggs and two rashers of bacon, all for £3.60.
Mondays also sees me taking care of telephone orders. People phone in their orders on a Monday and I deliver to them later in the week. We don’t go too far; I don’t want to deliver on my competitors’ doorstep. We cover a two-to-three mile radus and delivery is free for orders of £30 or more. There’s not a lot of of public transport here and some of the retired people don’t have the internet so they appreciate the service, especially as I go out in all weathers.
My Mondays typically finish with me delivering to a dear lady three miles away. We’ve been doing it for years; it’s not far past our house so it’s no hassle.
When I get home I like to spend a bit of quality time with our two children. In the better weather that’s typically a walk but at this time of year it’s usually watching a film on TV.
It’s funny how life pans out. When I was asked by the school careers officer what I wanted to do, I didn’t have a clue. I’d really grown up with the business. When I came out of university my mum and dad needed a hand and I was there. It’s a cracking business and I wouldn’t change how it’s worked out for the world.
Name: Marc Jones
Company: Hoffnant Garage, Brynhoffnant near Llandysul, Ceredigion
Job title: Director
Career history/biog: Worked for parents at Hoffnant Garage straight from university. Went on to buy the business with his wife Sarah in 2005
Greatest achievement: winning Londis Store of the Year 2013. "It was a fantastic feeling; a real reward for all our hard work. We took all the staff out for a Chinese to celebrate."
Most likely to say: "Hello, how are you?"
Least likely to say: "No, we can’t help you."
Motto: "Go with the flow"
Tip for business success: Don’t rush into anything
Other interests: Spending quality time with the family