A Spar forecourt store at Maiden Newton in Dorset has won the Best Forecourt 2016 award at the third staging of the Appleby Westward Retail Awards.

Olly Andrews’ Maiden Newton store won the Best Forecourt award along with the Best Spar Brand award, while colleague Abi James won the Best Store Manager award. Appleby Westward, the regional distribution company for Spar stores in the south and west, staged the event in the grand surroundings of the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, where the high standards and achievements of stores across the region were celebrated.

The Maiden Newton store has recently undergone its second major refit in three years which has doubled its size to 2,100sq ft following a co-investment project between owner Olly and Appleby Westward.

“It looks like a new store and we’re beating our footfall records every week,” said Olly, who managed the project himself. “Our customers think it’s great, everyone has been impressed and had something positive to say, and there’s no doubt we have redeveloped the store to a very high standard.

“Although we’re a forecourt store, we’re much more than that and very much a store serving the local community. Fuel is really just an add-on to the convenience offer we have.”

Olly’s late father Mike and his mother Melodie had run the service station for over 40 years, and the store has been with Spar for nearly 20 years. Olly became involved in the business five years ago after working 15 years in business management.

The redevelopment has allowed him to find more space for chilled and fresh produce, frozen, and food-to-go, and he has been encouraging healthy eating with an initiative for parents with children. Borrowing an idea he saw in the US, any child under 12 receives a portion of free fruit while their parents are shopping in store.

“With any significant investment into the store it’s important to attract new customers and show now what we offer,” said Olly. “Having the free fruit for kids promotion was a great way to encourage healthy eating, help make shopping trips a little bit easier for parents, and was a great offer to gain interest and promote through social media. As a result we’ve had some very good feedback.”