Location: On the A46 trunk road, just outside Alcester.

Forecourt: The site’s pole sign features the big BP logo, Spar, Costa Express and then the prices so far so good. However, there is only one word to describe the forecourt and that, unfortunately, is shabby. The pump casings are tatty and desperately need replacing, the ground is covered in stains, even the yellow lines around the site need repainting.

The forecourt does offer BP fuel though, including Ultimate. It has separate pumps for HGVs and also an AdBlue pump.

There are some good deals on fuel 5p off per litre when you buy 5ltr of screenwash and 5p off when you buy a large Costa coffee and any sandwich or wrap.

There is also a ’buy one get one free’ promotion on the car wash.

Shop: On the Oversley Mill website it states that they have all the products you would expect to find in a modern forecourt shop. I am not disputing that, as the store does have a decent range. However, I am disputing their interpretation of the word ’modern’ as I am afraid the shop could be used in a ’before’ and ’after’ ad for Spar, and it would illustrate the ’before’ bit. Simply put, it is what would have been a ’modern’ shop maybe 20 years ago. The flooring, the shelving, the lighting just all seemed very dated.

It does have a good convenience range and a very well stocked milk section.

The food-to-go chiller features Ginsters pastries and sandwiches, as well as a Fresh Maid Luxury range of sandwiches. But it is only the Fresh Maid sandwiches that are included in the meal deal. The meal deal itself is very limited. For £3.99 you get any £2.99 Fresh Maid sandwich, any Walkers 32.5g crisps or Pearls Café Cookie and a 330ml Coke or Diet Coke can or Volvic 50cl water.

There are two Costa Express machines near the till.

There is a freestanding display for fruit. The two shelves that should have held bananas were empty while the apples on the other shelves were all reduced.

There’s a ’reduced alcohol’ basket placed next to the wines.

There is a big selection of maps, which felt a little old fashioned given that most drivers use a sat nav or their smart phones to navigate these days.

Alongside the confectionery run to the till, there was a selection of Simply Life handmade cards. And there is a microwave and a kettle behind the till not sure why!

The toilets are clean and serviceable. An hourly toilet check chart is up to date.

Prognosis: Oversley Mill Services has been owned and run by the same family since 1961. It prides itself on being independent and therefore able to source suppliers locally. Also on the site is a 24-hour McDonald’s and a Travelodge, which must bring in trade to the service station.

Diagnosis: Convenience retailing has progressed considerably and today’s time-pressed consumers are more demanding than ever. Yes, this site has all the basics but nothing in particular that will get people coming back for more.

Prescription: My advice for this site is simple invest in a refurbishment. Clean up the pumps or replace their casing. Clean the concrete and get the yellow lines repainted.

With regards to the shop, the management needs to go out and see other, more modern Spar stores and how theirs could look. The shop is in desperate need of a makeover to bring it into the 21st century.

They also need to rethink their meal deal. I always think that if a store has two brands of sandwiches and only one is in the meal deal, then they’re only in it because they are cheaper ie not as good. And the meal deal needs to be broadened to include other crisps, snacks, drinks and fruit. Also, if you are going to sell fruit, make sure it is fresh and appetising.


ATM (free to use)
BP fuel
Car wash
HGV lane
Jet wash
Car care
Chilled foods
Cigarettes & tobacco
Costa Express
Fresh fruit
Meal deal
Soft drinks
Spar brand