There was stiff competition in the main route category of this year’s Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards.
But Edward Prosser proudly stepped up to collect the award for best main route independent with nine sites or less for the state-of-the-art Harry Tuffins site he manages in Ludlow, Shropshire. The site also won the overall category award for best main route site. The striking Harry Tuffins new-build forecourt was opened in January this year, on what was previously a greenfield site. The building has been designed with the environment in mind. "We’re really proud of the building - we deliberately designed it with features such as plenty of glass in the roof to allow lots of natural light into the shop," explains Edward. "We were delighted to get the awards and hope, by next year’s event, to have added more features to the site," he adds.
=== Independent with 10 sites or more ===
Heena Patel runs the Motor Fuels Group’s BP Charnwood Connect site in Leicestershire, and, in her words, she is "totally chuffed" at being named the best independent with more than 10 sites for the second consecutive year.
The site in Loughborough has a modern forecourt and prides itself on its revamped food-to-go section. It recently switched back to the Wild Bean Café as part of BP’s franchise arrangement and, according to Heena, this has had a huge impact. "Having Wild Bean has really driven sales in all areas of the business. We’ve seen sales in the food-to-go area rise to £1,000 a week. It’s also helped to increase fuel sales, with people stopping off for a snack and filling up at the pumps at the same time."
The site also has a seated area where customers can take a break.
=== oil company owned franchisee operated ===
Sivalingham Pragash believes that putting his business at the centre of the local community helps it to thrive.
He likes to have a friendly and informal atmosphere at the Murco Costcutter Wallasey Service Station, and his customers seem to have taken him to their hearts - they even affectionately call him by his nick-name ’Big Dave’!
Sivalingham has been running the business in Merseyside for six years and says he was ecstatic to win at the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards.
"It’s the first time we’ve entered and it’s just fantastic," he says. "We had a great time on the awards night and it’s been fantastic for morale. Since the award, we’ve been delighted to have some new faces come over to visit us and to see our business. Other retailers want to see how we’re running things."
=== oil co/supermarket owned & Managed ===
Emma Gaunt is no stranger to the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards but she says she was "shocked" to win the main route oil company/supermarket-owned and managed prize for the second consecutive year for her site, the United Co-op Crosshills Service Station in Keighley, Leeds.
"We didn’t expect to win again - we haven’t really changed things that much since last year, so it was such a lovely surprise to pick up the award," she says.
The 24-hour site has a compact but busy forecourt and a well-stocked and spacious store. Being located just off the A59 near the Yorkshire Dales, it attracts a healthy mix of local residential customers, visitors from the nearby industrial estate and passing tourists.