Forecourt owner Visvanathan Ragunathan has partnered with Southern Co-op in the opening of his new site at Southwater in West Sussex.

The store at the Texaco fuel station is trading under Southern Co-op’s Welcome franchise brand.

He said: “Our customers love the Co-op own label range and promotions. They love our smartly dressed colleagues and that, if they ask for a product, we can get it in for them with no fuss.

“They love the quality and ethical stance of the Co-op and already our fresh food sales are exceeding our expectations. We would also like to say special thanks to the franchise team at Southern Co-op for the extraordinary support during our opening weeks, we couldn’t have done better without them.”

The 2,600sq ft store, in Worthing Road, has been transformed from a previous car showroom, which has been moved to other connecting premises and is hoped to be opened later in 2019.

The new store will be open from 6am to 10pm on Monday to Saturday and from 7am to 9pm on Sundays.

Visvanathan Ragunathan said: “After discussions with Southern Co-op’s franchise business manager, I really liked both the initial support and the ongoing support that was offered as well as the great Co-op own label range especially fresh foods.

“Nowhere else have I seen the amount of own label range available for a franchisee to offer than with Southern Co-op. The promotions are great and the EPOS system really helps me manage my business and stock holding. Once we have a few week’s sales in the system, we will be letting the system suggest all our orders. 

“Our shop fit was completed using our own shop fitters to the Welcome specification and gave us the freedom to look at better value for money options for the store fit out. This is for all retailers such a large cost that the opportunity to save money on this was very important to me, without sacrificing quality. 

“We have the freedom to order all the Co-op lines we wish, and can choose to stick to planograms or decide our own range. We also have the freedom to stock local products and use local suppliers, but still offer the full co-op range.

“Having access to co-op uniforms as well reinforced to the customers and my team that they are working with Southern Co-op whilst keeping my own entrepreneurial spirit.”