Just south of St Austell on the A390 and on the same site as a Domino’s Pizza, hairdressers, hand car wash and Tourist Information office is my target, the Jet forecourt and Premier shop known as the Bypass Filling Station. The Jet pole and large canopy are clearly visible.
The forecourt is spacious and access to the six pump islands (at four positions) is good. Refuelling trade appeared sluggish despite competitive fuel prices, but I expect locals use the local Asda as it was 1ppl less on unleaded and 5ppl cheaper for diesel and only just up the road.
There are a number of free- standing and wall-mounted themed advertising boards one stating ’Local Pint’ showing a bottle of milk and another promoting Niles Bakery Cornish pasties. On the front of the shop there were also posters drawing attention to Premier offers.
Motorist services such as air and water were not visible perhaps they are available at the Cornwall Car Wash & Valeting Service at the rear of the site?
Bottled gas is available from a cage at the roadside, winter fuels and newspapers at the shop front.
The shop is a comfortable size with one long double-sided shelving unit running its entire length. The till area and a counter the width of the shop, with the hot pasty display unit and Nescafe & Go hot drinks unit, stands to the left of the entrance. In the right hand corner is an ATM there are charges for transactions.
The off licence section is tight but offers a good selection. The cool cabinet display was not price-marked so is was not easy to identify the special offers.
I was pleased to see that the milk was indeed local but it was difficult to find other local foods.
There was no fresh fruit or vegetables available.
Consumer leaflets promoting current Premier offers were on the counter. I found it difficult to identify a large range of the successful Euro Shopper brand.
There are no customer toilet facilities available; however, I noted that the one member of staff in the shop was friendly.
The Bypass Filling Station is in a great location at the gateway to the Cornish Riviera. Despite being on the edge of a southern exit from the town, it is sited among lots of housing.
On the downside it is close to a large Asda. It should build on the positives and to create a number of points of difference.
The Chancellor’s concessions on fuel duty have already been eaten up by higher inflation. According to a number of pundits the middle classes will be hit especially hard by a number of his tax changes. So, the recession may yet deepen before things get better. But it’s no time for retailers to stand still; they must keep investing in their businesses and aim to increase trade.
The Bypass Filling Station is in first-class partnerships with major operators Jet and the Premier Group. It has great access and is co-located with some strong businesses. The customers using some of these other services should be attracted into the Premier shop. The introduction of linked/combo deals may help to increase discretionary spending.
In the shop, breaking the centre shelving run would improve access to displays on the back wall as well as the off licence section. Improve the use of special offer point of sale material and seasonal offers.
Examine the possibility of changing the ATM to one that is free to use. Circulate the Premier promotion leaflets to households in the catchment area of the shop.
Develop a community focus by supporting schools, clubs and fetes.
Provide users of the hand car wash service with vouchers to spend in the shop while they’re waiting for their vehicles to be ready. Hot coffee/pastry deals (jointly-funded) do work. A similar deal with the hairdressing salon may prove mutually beneficial.
Attract holiday makers visiting the Tourist Office. Again hot drink and meal deals may work well.
Link with Cornwall’s Taste of the West producers. Signs promoting their activity in the Tourist Office could direct visitors into the Premier shop.
By providing some new and exciting ideas and offering personal service, the Bypass Filling Station can continue to drive sales.