Gulf award winner

Jan Wafa receives the Special Recognition Award at the Gulf Roadside Services EXPO & Awards 2024 from presenter Ben Hanlin

Six businesses were recognised at the Gulf Roadside Services EXPO & Awards, which took place in Chester last week.

The winners were: Brooksend Service Station in Birchington, Kent (Best Gulf); Star Fuels in Peacehaven, East Sussex (Best Pace); Attenborough Service Station in Nottinghamshire (Most Improved); Greens Service Station in Burnley and Nottingham (Special Recognition); Oasis Garage in Long Riston, Hull, (Best Oomph); and Red Lion Truck Stop in Harpole, Northampton (Best Truck Stop).

Janagha Wafa aka Jan, who owns Greens Service Stations in Burnley and Nottingham, was named as the winner of the Special Recognition Award.

Jan acquired his site in Nottingham in 2014 followed by Burnley in 2020, which underwent a major redevelopment before re-opening in 2022. The redeveloped site went on to achieve three million litres of fuel sales in the first year of trading – something the team expected to reach within four years.

Jan said: “It’s fantastic to be recognised – I am very proud. It’s been a long two years and we’ve done a lot of work to complete the project, but now it’s going really, really well.

“We wouldn’t have achieved it without a lot of support from everyone, from the Certas Team to our staff and site manager, Sayeed Abdul Bashir.

“We’ve had a great response from the local community – we are serving 800 customers a day and we have nothing but excellent reviews online. We are proud to provide an excellent service for the community.”

Sterling Petroleum’s Attenborough Service Station was awarded the ‘Most Improved’ award at the event. Recently the site underwent a complete refit with new pumps. Owner Nakendram Piratheepan, known as Theepan, said: “This award is down to the team of people who support me, from the staff at the service stations to the team at Gulf – my team is my success, there is no other way to say it.

“We have put a lot of effort into giving it a complete refit and making sure it gives people what they want. It has been an exciting and very rewarding few years but is definitely still a work in progress. We have a fantastic team, all committed to the cause and eager to play a part in our expansion.”

Malcolm Blake and his son Oliver, who run Oasis Garage on Long Riston Bypass, were named the winners of the ‘Best Oomph’ award for the second year running.

They were presented with the award for fantastic customer service and promotion of the Certas Oomph loyalty card scheme, which has seen a 35% increase in engagement.

Malcolm said: “We are really thrilled to have won this award for the second year running. It’s a testament to our fantastic staff who put all the hard work in.”

Steve Manklow, who runs Star Fuels in Peacehaven, Sussex, was named as the winner of the Best Pace category.

Steve, who has run the business for 25 years, won the award for Star Fuel’s outstanding retail offering which has been described as a ‘true local supermarket in the community of Peacehaven’.

Steve said: “Honestly, I’m over the moon! We were delighted just to be invited to the EXPO. As a little garage on the south coast of England to be nominated and then to actually win has been surreal. We’re just the little guys but this is the biggest thing to happen to us in 25 years!”

Easwaran Surean, who runs Brooksend Service Station in Kent, was named as the winner of the Best Gulf category. He has run the business for four years with his wife, Sivasakthi. They won the award for turning the once neglected site around, undergoing a full renovation, installing new amenities and achieving 451% growth.

With more than 30 years of petrol retailing experience, Easwaran said: “After buying the petrol station in 2020, we’re thrilled to have turned it around after a long time with no investment. It’s brilliant to see the site thriving. We’re so grateful to our hard-working team for all their support.”

Richard Billington, managing director of Certas Roadside Services, said: “These awards are our way of celebrating the small businesses which show great business acumen and innovation in a tough industry.

“Being a small business owner can be very challenging and you can often feel quite isolated, so this is our way of thanking the teams that make up a network of service stations that keep our country moving.”