Independent forecourt group Fraser’s Retail has opened a new-to-industry site in Marlborough, Wiltshire, and quickly changed the fuel-buying habits of local motorists after selling 120,000 litres of fuel in the first week.
Budgens of Marlborough took 17 weeks to develop from a brownfield location and comprises a BP-branded forecourt, Budgens store, Costa Coffee, Subway, Karcher jet wash, Washtec rollover car wash, Tokheim pumps with media heads, and red diesel, which is proving popular in the semi-rural location.
The Fraser’s team has overcome some difficult challenges in planning, including having to get all site designs approved by the Crown Estate, which used to own the land.
Mark Wilson, operations manager for Fraser’s Retail, said: “Also the owner of the land and business park we have built on was not keen to have a forecourt until he visited our site at Yarnton and soon realised the quality of our operation.
“Customer feedback has been amazing,” he added. “We are in a town where there was only one petrol retailer who used to have the title as the most expensive in the UK.”
The group did a lot of marketing prior to opening and with Budgens support held a charity evening two weeks prior to opening, giving £3,000 to local charities and good causes. It has also adopted a similar charity system to Waitrose whereby customers are given a green token to deposit in a box on their way out of the store, to indicate their chosen charity from a choice of two per month.
Fraser’s Retail now operate six sites, after selling one forecourt to Mid Counties Co-op earlier this year.
“We are on the look out for more sites, but have no ambition to grow too quickly as our standards are what set us apart. We feel that having more sites can dilute what we stand for,” said Mark.
“We are looking to roll out Subway to more sites next year and have already gained planning for our site in Lower Earley in Reading.”