Independent Dealer with up to 9 sites
Conor McKibbin was delighted to collect the overall award for Best Rural Independent, making a hat-trick of wins. "We’ve been very fortunate it is the third year we’ve won so we’re delighted," he says. "It’s a real challenge and very rewarding for the staff." The site is based in Newcastle Road, Downpatrick in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is a very busy garage featuring post office, hot and cold deli, off licence, café and supermarket. It is a modern and spacious operation with the full range of services that makes it a focal point for motorists.
Conor says the winning formula is strictly down to the team that runs the site. "We’ve got a great management team, and a great staff structure. We’re all very motivated, work together and are very passionate about what we do."
Brennan’s is also famous for its home-made ice cream. "The ice cream is the focus of our business," explains Conor. "It’s an integral part of the business it’s steeped in history. It’s what we’re famous for locally, and it’s what we feel makes us stand apart from other stores."
The Murco Costcutter site in Winchester is a relatively compact site, but offers a full range of services, including valeting, seasonal solid fuel, flowers, fee-paying cash machine as well as a small Costcutter store. Pradeepkumar Sanmugarajah ensures the store is kept clean, tidy and well-faced. "The focal point for the shop is the promotional bays which generate store activity and customer interest," he explains. "We also offer the National Lottery which drives footfall. We are the local supermarket and carry a wide range of products to cater for all our customers. We also have a range of hot and cold food to go a very busy area of the store." Pradeep says the site is successful because "we always look to serve customers better, which is why we experience high levels of interest. We are also on first-name terms with many of our customers".
Best Motorway site - winner
Barry Rowsell was very excited to collect the award for Best Motorway Site at the awards ceremony last September, as he had only been on the Esso Magor motorway service station for a year. The site is on the M4, junction 23, and a focus for anyone travelling to or leaving Wales. "I’ve been in retail for a long time, but never on a motorway site," says Barry. "It’s very different. It’s an extremely busy site morning, afternoon, and night there’s a constant flow of customers because of its position on the main route into Wales. When the Ryder Cup was held, for example, that’s about 50,000 people coming onto the site.
"Our success in the awards is not all me. The company’s got a very good format and very good staff. I inherited a lot of them when I took over the site and they’re brilliant. The oil company gives us a lot of support supply chain, point-of-sale and so on. The offer Esso delivers is really good."
"I was absolutely flabbergasted to be presented with this award," said Patrick Sewell, managing director of Hull-based Sewell Retail, a Top 50 Independent with 12 sites, as he was presented with the Forecourt Trader and Palmer and Harvey Retailer Champion of the Year award.
The award was launched in 2009 to recognise the key industry players in the fuel retailing sector. An online voting system enabled Forecourt Trader readers to cast their votes for the pre-selected nominees. "I know most of the retailers nominated, and I have an awful lot of respect for them and what they do for the industry," said Patrick. "The award is not about me, but about my team. We have high standards and expectations of what we set out to achieve. Doing the right thing is a fundamental part of our business. We’re never satisfied we always want to do better."