Forecourt Trader of the Year winner Jonathan Tout is taking to the stage at our industry summit next month to share best in class initiatives at his flagship store in Cleeve.
The forecourt, which opened with a 4,100 sq ft store in June 2022, wowed the Forecourt Trader Awards judges last year with its stylish aesthetics, food art, and extensive local range, with around 75 suppliers with a Somerset or Bristol postcode. The Esso forecourt – the Somerset-based business’s third – is a hub for its local community with a hair salon, and restaurant with lounge area seating 82 customers.
It was described at the ceremony as “bristling with innovation” and including “all the things people want quickly and in-person”. It is the first concept site for the company, which plans to add its fourth forecourt, in Taunton, to join outlets in Cleeve, Nailsea and Langford. And it has ambitions to run other large multi-use neighbourhood centres.
The Cleeve store is home to the Nisa-supplied business’s head office, which has capacity for 40 staff, and training facility. It is where the company masterminds its marketing activities five months in advance, with promotions around key events such as Dry January, Local Awareness Month, and Black Friday Weekend, and tied in with its loyalty card, which has 24,000 subscribers.
Jonathan took over as managing director 10 years ago, when his parents stepped down from the business they started with a garage in 1988. He works closely with his wife Zena, who is brand director and the creative influence behind the signature look of the Cleeve store with its teal accents, and foodie-inspired in-store theatre.
She uses design to create specialist-themed spaces. There is a meat butchery chiller clad in Himalayan rock salt brickwork, and the off-licence is signposted as ‘From the cellar’, with brickwork, a wooden beam ceiling, and low hanging lights. A hot and cold food to go area is branded Maple Kitchen, and there is a dramatic greengrocer-style fruit and vegetable front-of-store section branded ‘From the garden’.
Jonathan describes the store as a “labour of love and passion”. It was designed to be “mostly a supermarket, fairly like a farm shop, little like a discounter and nothing like a corner shop”.
Sign up to attend this year’s summit and hear about how the business lives up to its ’Passionate about Food’ strapline, and why two-thirds of its customers are coming to the store without intending to purchase fuel.
The Forecourt Trader Summit is a must-attend event for anyone in the fuel and convenience retail sector. It has a reputation for bringing incisive content and discussion about the opportunities and challenges facing the industry.
Other highlights from this year’s event include keynote speaker Sonya Adams, VP mobility and convenience retail at BP, who will talk about the role the fuel giant plays in the sector.
Advice on dealing with forecourt crime will be tackled by operations director at BOSS, Bruce Nichol, and Gareth Payne head of HSE at Certas Energy. Meanwhile, Gordon Balmer, executive director at the PRA, will be providing his take on the industry.
The Forecourt Trader Summit is also the place to learn about the latest innovations such as the newly-launched hydrogen-powered EV charger for sites struggling to gain access to the grid, as well as successful retail initiatives, and top advice on forecourt property from leading business property expert Steve Rodell from Christie & Co.
Exclusive research into what forecourt customers nationwide and independent retailers are thinking will be revealed by Lumina Intelligence, the insights division of Forecourt Trader publisher William Reed