Blakemore Trade Partners has pledged a £100,000 investment to Spar retailer Paul Baxter to enable him to carry out transformational development of his forecourt store.

Paul runs DC Baxter Motors Gulf forecourt in the affluent village of Ruskington in Lincolnshire.

The investment, which was awarded as a prize at Blakemore Trade Partners’ Spar Retail Show, will enable Paul to extend his store by about 350sq ft. This will provide additional selling space and a new opportunity to change the layout and review the range.

Over the years Paul has been committed to developing his business. In 2015 he invested heavily in his forecourt by installing new fuel tanks and fuel pumps. This was followed by a new car park in 2017 and the installation of solar panels in 2019.

However, Paul recognised that these developments have not addressed recent changes in customer shopping missions, or the need to modernise the interior of his store.

He explained: “We have overlooked the opportunity to become what our village wants us to be: a convenience store that fulfils people’s need for fresh quality foods.

“We would like to be known in the area as the destination to get all ingredients for ‘tonight’s tea’, and want to ensure that our store development captures more recent trends and market insight.”

Blakemore Trade Partners sales director Louis Drake commented: “It is essential that stores evolve and invest continuously to stay ahead of the competition. Blakemore Trade Partners continues to provide support in the way of co-investment to enable our retailers to do this.

“Our new Store Cluster strategy is built on customer insight to ensure that the investments our retailers are making are delivering what consumers require.”

Paul added: “My long-term plan is to ensure the continuation of my family heritage by keeping up to date with customer needs and improving the range of products and services available in the store.

“With support from A.F. Blakemore and the Spar brand I hope to make this happen. As a family business and independent wholesaler, AFB understands my desire to remain a truly independent store and is willing to invest time, retail expertise and financial support into my business to grow my proposition, sales and margin.

“Since joining Spar, I have found the support network incredibly valuable, and I am very committed to the brand.”

DC Baxter Motors is a third-generation family business that was established in 1971 by Paul’s grandfather. It joined Spar in 2010.