Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Top of the class

Scotland: up to 4 mlpa

Jet Mascot Ardeer: Mahmood Saleem has created a state-of-the art store by totally transforming Ardeer Services in Stevenston, North Ayrshire. The 24/7 Jet forecourt and Nisa store is ideally placed to serve the local

community and commuters travelling between three local towns. With larger supermarkets more than 10 minutes away, Saleem spotted an opportunity to capitalise on local customers' needs for convenience.

He decided to invest £1.5m investment converting the cramped 750sq ft shop into a spacious, modern forecourt convenience store. The original store was razed to the ground and replaced with a two-storey building housing a 2,700sq ft Nisa store on the ground floor, along with a Subway franchise, ice cream parlour, customer toilets and a storage room. Upstairs is dedicated to a staff kitchen, offices, a meeting room and walk-in fridge and freezer storage. Much thought has gone into the design of the building which includes energy-efficient measures.

"By investing in the latest convenience technology, we've significantly improved our customers' shopping experience," said Mahmood. The in-store product range has trebled from 400 to 1,200 lines. It includes 10m of fresh and chilled refrigeration stocking fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, local butcher's meat, ready meals and desserts. Saleem's investment has certainly paid off. Weekly turnover for the site has jumped from £90k to £125k; with fuel sales up by 30%; and average weekly shop sales up from £30k to £37k.

Scotland: 4 mlpa plus

Gulf Aikenhead Road: Site manager Maria Smith, (pictured below left) with Jean Watkins, was delighted to collect the award for the Best Site in Scotland in the 4mlpa-plus category. It's been a busy year for her and her team of 19 at the Certas Energy-owned site in Glasgow.

But it's been worth it, as fuel and store sales are on the up following a £200k site refurbishment in May, which included an extension to the store from a tired 600sq ft to a modern fresh c-store including a new Subway outlet and customer seating area. Located opposite Holyrood High School on Aikenhead Road, the site benefits from lunchtime trade from the high school as well as the local workforce.

Given the trading area, significant investment has been made to provide a destination site for food-to-go, to maximise breakfast, lunchtime and evening sales. The shop is well stocked with a wide range of convenience goods, and the whole store has been re-laid to provide additional promotional space as well as an improved bakery offer and chilled range. Categories such as protein shakes and snacks and healthier snacking have been included. The store includes Costa Express, Slush Machine, Rollover Hot Dogs, Paypoint and Hermes collection. On the forecourt, the site includes a jet wash, air machine, vacuum and free-to-use ATM. Additional parking spaces have been created given the longer dwell time with the new Subway outlet, and also the lack of parking available within the local area at competitor food-to-go outlets.

northern Ireland: up to 4mlpa

Eurospar Maghaberry: This truly is a community supermarket, serving its local and loyal shoppers from 6am to 11pm seven days a week.

The 5,186sq ft store boasts a wide range of in-store services and amenities from a dailyDeli outlet, which offers fresh and tasty food-to-go for breakfast, lunch and all day, to an extensive fresh fruit and vegetable range, most of which is grown and supplied by Northern Irish farmers.

Fosters Traditional Butchers also operates an in-store counter, making the store a one-stop destination for local grocery needs.

A fully equipped Barista Bar serves up hot drinks to customers in need of a caffeine fix on-the-go. These drinks can be enjoyed with a sweet treat from the range of muffins, pastries and seasonal goodies that sit alongside the Barista Bar, or from store supplier Moira Bakery, which has been serving the local community for over 20 years.

A Post Office counter completes the wide range of in-store services that have been specifically chosen with customer convenience in mind.

In-store promotions follow a three-week cycle and prove hugely popular with customers who love the value offering.

The store provides employment for many local people, indeed the majority of the in-store team walk to work.

BP is the forecourt fuel provider at EuroSpar Maghaberry, meaning that customers can collect Nectar points with every fuel purchase.

northern ireland: 4 mlpa plus

Classic Service Station: This family run business only recently opened this new state-of-the-art facility in Omagh. But already it is one of Northern Ireland's busiest fuel sites, set to top 10 million litres this year.

Despite having an Asda with a forecourt, a McDonalds, KFC, Lidl, Home Bargains and another independent forecourt all within a couple of hundred of yards, it has become the go-to site for food-to-go as well as fuel.

There's seating for 40 customers who can shop the food-to-go section or visit the site's integrated fish and chip shop.

There is an ever-expanding range of fresh food as well as Classic's own in-store produced range of take-home meals, which is becoming more and more popular.

With a strong ambient grocery range, PayPoint, ice cream, internal and external ATMs, lottery and solid fuel, this site really is set up well to service the needs of locals as well as the busy commuter.

As a family business, it is firmly at the heart of the community, supporting local community groups and charities. It recently installed a defibrillator that is available 24-hours a day should it be needed.

Classic Service Station owner, Jonathan McCullagh, said the win was great for the business as well as for staff morale: "It's good to know that you are the best in your field, and we celebrated by taking staff out." The win was communicated to customers via the site's digital pole sign with the use of the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards' logo.

car care and lubricants outlet: sponsored by CDG

Jet Abbeyside Service Station: The car care display here consists of two 1m long horizontal bays of car care products and lubricants. Brand leaders are positioned in prime areas. Abbeyside's best seller is the Jetmax range of engine oils. Other popular brands include Turtle Wax, Reded, STP and Simoniz. Flat shelves are used to display the larger heavier items, while peg boards at the back of the bays provide useful hanging space for smaller, lighter products.

All Abbeyside staff members are capable of advising customers on the correct products to meet their specific needs, should they require assistance. The display area is checked and stock replenished on a daily basis.

Car care remains an important category for Abbeyside and represents 5% of total shop sales.

best community engagement: sponsored by HTEC

Eurospar Glenwell: The community work here spans extensive charity fundraising, going that extra mile for customers and investing in young people.

Notable fundraising includes £1,300 for the NSPCC, £250 for Action Cancer and £850 for Tear Fund all through bucket collections in-store. The store has also raised enough money to get a defibrillator installed outside.

Staff help elderly and disabled customers by filling up their cars with fuel and carrying bags to their cars. In the winter, when there's snow and ice, they also provide a home delivery service.

EuroSpar Glenwell is involved in the Roots to Wings scheme and the Now group, which aim to get young people with learning difficulties into paid employment by giving them valuable work experience.

best customer service: sponsored by JTI

Budgens Three Mile Cross: This is the Fraser Group's latest addition but, as a family business of over 60 years standing, it was important that the store embraced the local community. To that end, local people were involved from the outset. Well before Three Mile Cross opened, local charity Heartstart Swallowfield asked if they could locate a public-access defibrillator on-site. The Fraser Group agreed and actually funded the equipment purchase.

Several weeks before the store launch, local residents were invited to a welcome evening at a local sports club. Dozens came to meet the team, find out about the planned proposition and voice their thoughts on what they wanted from the store. The Fraser Group say they're very proud of what we've achieved so far, and are looking forward to building upon it in the months and years to come.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 12 November 2018
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East137.08139.69129.73
East Midlands136.60139.38129.02
London137.0265.40139.68129.22
North East136.4569.90142.07128.06
North West136.60138.23128.71
Northern Ireland135.0969.90137.92128.64
Scotland137.07136.04128.45
South East137.4666.90139.94129.99
South West136.7567.90139.46129.38
Wales136.47135.40128.21
West Midlands136.02140.93128.76
Yorkshire & Humber135.86140.71128.57

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