Top independent retailer Jonathan James gave a humourous and rallying speech at Forecourt Trader’s inaugural Indie 5000 dinner on Sunday night.

Launched at the International Forecourt & Fuel Equipment Show (IFFE) at the NEC in Birmingham, the Indie 5000 project targets dealers with a handful of sites or fewer, who make up the majority of the independent fuel retailing market.

The programme kicked off with presentations on the Forecourt Trader stand followed by a dinner on the first night of IFFE and gave those attending the chance to network with likeminded retailers and the event’s sponsors – British American Tobacco, Dresser Wayne, Eurotank Environmental, Harvest Energy, Heineken and Total.

Jonathan shared his thoughts on the importance of independents sharing information and supporting each other. He told the audience how from small beginnings attending a PRA meeting and chatting to then-director Ray Holloway, he grew his contacts, knowledge and experience to running four forecourts and two Budgens c-stores. He is also vice chairman of the Association of Convenience Stores, sits on the NACS international committee, and is a regular contributor to national media.

The Indie 5000 programme of special presentations on the Forecourt Trader stand at IFFE: Optimising property value and business exit strategies by Barber Wadlow’s Amanda Barber and Adam Wadlow; how to improve fuel margins by Simon Kucher & Partners’ Andreas Jonassen; the car wash business by Wilcomatic’s Marc Ford; making car wash pay in a difficult climate by Washtec’s Michael Harris; and forecourts of the future by brand agency Circle’s Claire Livesey.

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