With plastic reduction a high priority everywhere, forecourt store owner Justin Taylor has become one of the first Spar retailers in the south west to introduce a free water refill station.

Justin, who owns the Winford Ford fuel and Spar shop at Littleton Mills near Bristol, expects a gradual fall in sales of bottled water but is also looking to exploit the commercial benefits of the refill station, for example using social media to let local cycle clubs in the area know they can refill at the store while cycling in the area.

Year-on-year sales at the forecourt store are up around 4% following an operation involving re-use of space and changing the emphasis on certain products, which has resulted in a positive reaction from customers.

The store has been trading successfully since it was the subject of a major expansion project three years ago, but owner Justin and the team from his Spar supplier, Appleby Westward, decided the time was right for a few cosmetic changes to make the store easier for customers to navigate.

“We took out some square footage, some dead stock and slimmed down the grocery range,” said Justin. “We re-used the space by increasing the width of the aisles by 300mm, moved the till queue further down an aisle rather than across the front, and generally made the store more open and spacious. Importantly, our customers are happy with the changes we’ve made.”

Justin also introduced the Aquavape range opposite the till with a promotional end dedicated to vaping and installed a low-level spider display fridge at the front of the store to create a more attractive location for chilled promotions.

The Littleton Mills store meets the convenience shopping needs of people in the affluent Chew Valley area south of Bristol and the redevelopment three years ago, which doubled its size to 2,500sq ft, transformed the business and established its reputation as the destination store for convenience shoppers throughout the area.