On the A268 in the village of Peasmarsh near Rye in East Sussex.
You wouldn’t know there was a Jet forecourt with shop attached if you drove through Peasmarsh. Yes, you would see a sign for Jempson’s, but there’s nothing to say there’s a petrol station there. You drive off the main road to a large, well- landscaped site that houses the Jempsons’s supermarket and the forecourt. The forecourt was extremely busy at the time of my visit (a Saturday morning) with drivers no doubt attracted by the cheap fuel, which was a good 3-4ppl cheaper than anywhere else around.
A big canopy covers the whole forecourt area which is great for protecting drivers against the elements. Air, vacuum, a jet wash and a Storm touchless car wash are all available and although there is no parking on the forecourt, there is plenty close by in the supermarket car park.
Piles of decorative bark, top soil and farmyard manure are at the front of the shop.
The shop is quite small but well stocked. In the food-to-go chiller there were Jempson’s own brand pastries, which looked very tempting, and Home Made Kitchen sandwiches and salads.
There is a big range of Pot Noodles, Uncle Bens pots and microwaveable soups so it was good to see the shop had a microwave for customer use. There is also a Jempson’s Good to Go coffee machine.
There is a lot of Co-op brand products, but sometimes to the detriment of the big brands. I was looking for McVitie’s Hobnobs, for example, but they only seemed to have Co-op biscuits.
Likewise the petfood section, which was quite extensive, all seemed to be Co-op brand.
There were doughnuts, cakes and pastries and some bread but they were on display above a freezer, away from the other food.
There is a rack of confectionery near the till and one housing fruit, nuts and protein bars.
A lot of the shelving in the store takes the form of racking, on wheels, so it could be moved around.
There is a good rack of Oak Tree Home Trust charity cards.
There is also a very comprehensive car care section.There is a big display of screen wash near the till and some golf umbrellas useful, as the weather was terrible.
Bunting across the store celebrated Jempsons’s 85th birthday.
Jempson’s Express was the subject of a Shop Doctor visit back in 2011 but given that the site had won the Best Forecourt Team prize at the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards 2019, it seemed due another visit.
Jempson’s is an award-winning, family-run business. The forecourt opens from 6am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, and is closed on Sundays. It also does not sell lottery tickets. This is apparently for religious reasons. The manager of the forecourt, Jurgita, told me that the Sunday closing was nice as it meant staff could spend time with their families.
It’s difficult to prescribe anything for this store as I’m privy to some facts that its formula is working ie shop sales are up and stock waste is down. And that’s without Sunday opening and the lottery.
Shelves are well stocked and I liked the moveable racking, which I imagine comes in very useful.
What I would prescribe though is a meal deal as they are so popular and consumers have come to expect them.
Also there are no toilets as I imagine there are some in the supermarket, but a sign to this effect would be good.
That said as this forecourt is a ’hidden gem,’ known only to locals or those who use the Jet app, the customers probably already know this.
I would also query the plethora of Co-op products but knowing that sales are up and waste is down, I can’t really do that!