Tankerford’s Ardleigh Village Service Station, pictured before the knockdown rebuild, will re-open mid-June with Nisa fascia

Top 50 Indie Tankerford has been making changes in a bid to boost shop revenues. It has appointed Jamie Wheeler as retail sales director and is trialling the Nisa fascia at one of its 11 forecourts.

Jamie, who previously worked as an account manager at Morrisons Daily and franchise operations manager at Southern Co-op, is tasked with developing a business plan, working with existing partners, and establishing new relationships.

His first priority at the family business, says operations manager Vasavi Nanthakumar, whose father Subramaniam founded Tankerford in 2002, is to make back-office systems uniform throughout the business. This will mean data from all outlets, which are mainly in the south of England, can be collated more easily.

“We thought that we had reached a point of having a good amount of stores and that we wanted to drive shop sales, which myself and dad do not have much knowledge of,” said Vasavi, who joined the business after completing a maths and finance degree in 2020.

“We need to tighten up quite a bit on tech for the stores, and Jamie will be looking at new areas such as using display screens which we have in a few of our outlets for promotions, and electronic shelf edge labelling too.

“We want him to find anything he thinks that will work for us, there’s always something new coming up,” added Vasavi, who originally met Jamie with her father at the opening of their Worthing Southern Co-op five years ago.

Meanwhile, the introduction of the Nisa brand at its Ardleigh Village forecourt, near Colchester in Essex, is a significant departure for the business, which until now has focused on the Southern Co-op, Welcome, and Spar fascias.

It is replacing the Spar brand as part of a knockdown rebuild of the store which it has owned for four years. The Shell forecourt will remain untouched as it was refurbished a year into the Nanthakumars’ ownership. But the shop is doubling in size to around 1,300 sq ft.

As well as introducing the Co-op brand, as part of the Nisa deal it is installing two Cook freezers, a Costa Express machine, Rollover hotdogs, and a Calippo Slush, which is replacing Tango Ice at the site previously.

The store, which is due to re-open mid-June after two months of work, will have a more modern aesthetic with dark industrial-inspired exposed ceilings and more space. Vasavi is also considering a sky panel if she can persuade her father. There will also be electronic shelf edge labels.

“As we redevelop sites, we will introduce digital labels,” said Vasavi, “it is a good way to cut down on labour costs.”

But that is not the only reason. “During hot weekends, it will allow us to quickly promote food to go and ice creams, and we will be able to drive up pricing in the evenings. But at Ardleigh Village Service Station it will be more about engaging with customers with deals,” she said.