Forge Garage After

The owners of Forge Garage village forecourt store in Bourton, Dorset, have reported that customers have been delighted after the store switched to Spar.

Gill Whitehead and her daughter Emma decided to make the move after realising it was time for a change. “We accepted we were stuck in our ways and that we needed a complete change,” said Emma.

“Spar approached us and we liked the way they did business. The support they had to offer impressed us and we realised that Spar was the brand above the door and on the shelf that we needed to build on what we could offer.”

The Forge Garage has been in the family since the 1960s when the A303 trunk road went past the forecourt. When Bourton was by-passed, the business changed from passing trade to a local community emphasis, today providing a Gulf fuel station, convenience shopping and Post Office services to people in this corner of north Dorset, which borders Somerset and Wiltshire close by.

The move to Spar has seen a huge transformation in the store, involving a co-investment scheme with Appleby Westward, the regional distribution company for Spar stores in the south west. The Whiteheads still offer the local products for which they were well known alongside new Spar brand lines which have proved popular with customers.

“Customers are loving the fresh meat range we now have to offer and the greater selection of wines,” said Emma. During the development, old chillers were replaced with new models with doors, making the display of chilled products much more environmentally friendly.

The store employs 10 full time and six part time staff, and since the development, Gill and Emma have been looking at giving key areas of responsibility to members of staff. Ben Cooper, Appleby Westward’s business development manager for the area, said: “Working with Gill and Emma has been great, and they already have plans to extend the store and add a wide range of new and exciting products and services with the help of Spar and Appleby Westward.”