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

In the surgery this month: Stonehenge Filling Station Winterbourne Stoke, Salisbury

Location:

On the busy A303

Forecourt:

The pole sign, which stood on a scrubby bit of land covered in weeds, highlights Murco fuel as well as the fact that they sold LPG and had customer toilets. There is also a 'Fresh Coffee' sign at the other end of the forecourt but it was stained and falling over, so didn't really communicate 'freshness'.

There is a heating oil cage surrounded by weeds and a Calor gas cage, again with weeds.

The air machine was out of order as was the LPG pump.

The actual forecourt was rather bumpy and covered in oil stains. There was also a battered product locker, which was rusting away and appeared to have a broken pull-down shutter.

Shop:

The tiny store has Express Shop as its fascia plus, in a small window by the till area, it says 'Stonehenge Filling Station'. There is a big industrial recycling bin out front of the shop; I was not sure if this was for the business or for customers.

There is a very limited grocery range. I spied two loaves of Jacksons bread available in a shelf above the screenwash.

There is a small non-food range comprising bin bags, toothpaste, plasters, deodorant, sanpro lines, glass cleaner, toilet rolls and batteries. Unfortunately the layout meant the Tampax was right next to the KP Choc Dips.

There is a compact car care range with oil, de-icer, AdBlue, WD40 and anti-freeze.

A good crisps range with lots of grab bags and a small range of bagged confectionery typically a big seller in forecourts. This included brands I had never heard of Café Paris nougat and Victoria pick & mix.

In the chiller, I saw bacon, butter and eggs as well as a good range of Starbucks ready-to-drink coffees. There were also some Swedish meatballs, frankfurters and Ginsters pastries.

There is a decent range of soft drinks in the chiller as well as chilled beer, wine and cider.

There is a non-branded coffee machine but this was out of order.

There were gaps on some of the shelves and some of the shelving itself was old and falling apart.

There was a hot unit at the till. The signage looked like Country Choice's, however in the display were Ginsters pastries as well as Co-op cheese & onion rolls.

The mat that you stood on to be served at the till was dirty.

The customer toilet was clean and presentable. A notice asked customers to close the door when leaving and also had the message: 'At busy times please let the member of staff know if toilet tissue is required'. The toilet tissue was running out so I did tell a member of staff. She was pleased I had because a few days before, she had noticed a customer come out of the toilet, go to the coffee dispensing area and pick up a handful of serviettes to use in the toilet.

The two staff were helpful, friendly and chatty.

Prognosis:

Stonehenge Filling Station is owned by Gerrish Fuels, established in 1978. According to their website they have two other forecourts in Bulford and Ludgershall and are a 'successful family owned business in the independent retail fuel sector'.

Diagnosis:

All I can surmise from my visit to this forecourt is that it trades on its location the very busy A303. I can't see any reason for visiting this site other than the fact that you are on your way to or from somewhere and desperately need fuel or to use the loo. Once visited, I imagine most people would try not to return.

Prescription:

There's no doubting that this site is in a brilliant location; it's just a shame the owners seemed to have let it go. It needs a professional eye and some investment. You get a receipt that says 'Nisa Local' and it really needs a Nisa Local makeover. Also it does have some Co-op own-brand but more needs to be made of it. And the forecourt itself needs a clean and tidy up.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 12 August 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East132.7964.90140.57129.31
East Midlands132.3882.90140.96129.04
London132.00142.39129.64
North East131.01141.52128.85
North West131.7261.90139.66128.96
Northern Ireland129.24135.57126.71
Scotland132.0552.70140.43129.27
South East132.9759.90141.37129.82
South West132.33140.93128.95
Wales131.33136.85128.40
West Midlands132.06141.78129.37
Yorkshire & Humber131.4669.57142.64128.74

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