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

Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Ellesmere Port Service Station, Jacks Wood Avenue, Ellesmere Port

LOCATION: This is a new-build site in a major development area of Ellesmere Port. Close to the M53, it will serve all the new houses

being built as well as lots of local businesses. There were three-way traffic lights outside the site, meaning access took a little longer than usual.

FORECOURT: A well-laid out forecourt offering Texaco fuels. There are bright red flags everywhere highlighting the 'Save 1ppl with Texaco Star Rewards' scheme. There's plenty of customer parking across the site.

There are five big jet wash bays with a half price offer of '5 minutes for £1'.

There are the usual logs and screenwash outside the shop. Plenty of posters in the window highlighting offers on beer and cider, on soft drinks and the Meal Deal. There's advertising for Subway too coffee and a cookie for £1.50; and the sub of the day for £2.49. There's also a lot of support for Totally Wicked vaping products.

The Costa Drive Thru is adjacent to the forecourt.

SHOP: As you walk into the shop building, on the left is the Spar store and on the right the Subway, with a good seating area. It's a big, spacious store as you'd expect from a new build.

A nice display of flowers greets you but so too does a small trolley with 'End of Line' crisps in it not a great first impression.

There are lots of lovely new chillers but some big gaps in them. For example, there's a big bold bit of pos highlighting a Chocolate Eclairs two-pack for £1.50, but none there.

A corner area is dedicated to coffee-to-go complemented by lots of energy and protein bars. Next to this is a Meal Deal chiller (£3.50 or less). My visit was late in the afternoon so there was not a lot left in the way of sandwiches. However, the Meal Deal was impressive in that it included snack packs of fruit, egg and spinach pots, yogurts and cakes something for everyone.

I came face to face with a stack of paper then I realised it was part of the WH Smith stationery area, which was differentiated from the rest of the store by wood flooring and a big hanging blue and white WH Smith sign. Products available include basic office stationery, as well as some fashion stationery such as jazzy pencil cases.

Stacks of products were dotted around the store, which sometimes worked and sometimes not. For example, there were boxes of Daz washing powder right next to a cardboard display of Max Strong crisps soap-flavoured crisps anyone?

It was good to see a comprehensive, on-trend Free From fixture, featuring dairy, wheat and gluten-free products.

A great off licence range, much of it chilled, and complemented by stacks of take-home packs of beer and cider.

The customer toilets were compact but very good.

Staff were extremely helpful; as soon as a queue started to form, another till was opened.

prognOSIS: Ellesmere Port is the Kay Group's fourth new-to-industry site in two years. It features the company's first drive-thru Costa Coffee.

DIAGNOSIS: There's no doubt this is a great site; and it should be as it was purpose built. As well as all the housing, apparently a Harvester restaurant is being built close by.

The store is spacious but maybe there is a little too much free space and I wonder if it might be put to better use. The site has not been open for very long so I wonder if the gaps on the shelves are due to staff getting used to what sells and what doesn't.

PRESCRIPTION: I expect this store will 'grow' with the growing community and find its way as the community builds. My only advice would be to be mindful of those stacks of products as no one wants soap-flavoured crisps.


FORECOURT

ATM free-to-use
Jet wash
Newspapers
Parking
Screen wash
Texaco fuels
SHOP
24-hour off licence
American candy
Car care
Cigarettes & tobacco
Confectionery
Costa Express
Crisps/snacks
Food-to-go
Free-from range
Gadgets/gizmos
Frozen foods
Greetings cards
Grocery
HBA/OTC
Ice cream
Lottery
Magazines
Meal deals
Subway
WH Smith
Soft drinks

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    Average
Weekly retail fuel prices: 13 August 2018
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East132.96139.34130.03
East Midlands132.2178.40140.26129.44
London132.7566.90141.06129.97
North East131.67142.51128.83
North West132.2355.20139.96128.87
Northern Ireland130.9869.90134.15128.85
Scotland132.49139.09129.38
South East133.0865.40140.87130.38
South West132.56139.07129.94
Wales132.13136.80129.14
West Midlands131.77140.75129.12
Yorkshire & Humber131.4360.80142.86128.78

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