Mystery motorist on a mission

Nisa Local Potton

Our mystery motorist on a mission visits Nisa Local Potton in Sandy, Bedfordshire

pitstop score

Nisa Local Potton in Sandy, Bedfordshire

Time of visit: 3.40pm

Kerb appeal: The site is easy to spot thanks to its BP pole sign with huge BP logo at the top followed by Nisa Local, Costa then the fuel prices. There is also the pristine BP canopy.

Pump action: The site was quite busy at the time of my visit, with cars and vans at the pumps. As well as petrol and diesel, there is a Smart Plus AdBlue dispenser. The forecourt is clean and tidy, and parking spaces are available. Food to go and the in-store bakery are highlighted in banners on the fences.

Store style: The Nisa Local store itself is really smart. It has been very well designed with great attention to detail. The circular ‘halo’ lighting looks particularly impressive as does the wood or wood-effect floor.

As you walk in, there were fresh flowers and a small Red Bull fridge.

I made my way to the food-to-go chillers and noticed reduced pre-packaged sandwiches – from £3.39 to £2.26. I’m not a fan of reduced sandwiches as they don’t shout ‘fresh’ to me but understand they may appeal to people on a budget.

There was an excellent range of prepared-in-store baguettes, sandwiches and salads which all looked much more appetising than the pre-packed sandwiches. The Chicken, Sweetcorn & Bacon Salad looked particularly fresh and delicious, and cost just £3.50.

Rather disappointingly the serve-over bakery counter was closed. I was not sure if this was due to staff shortages or time of day, but it was only 3.40. This counter also served fresh coffee (when it was open!).

There were some fresh baked bread and baguettes out on the shelves.

Elsewhere in the store availability of milk was good and there was a decent range of salad and other fruit and veg.

Unfortunately availability was not good across the store and there were lots of gaps on shelves and in the chillers. For example, there were loads of gaps on the snacking display next to the Costa machine and there were big gaps in the chilled meat chiller.

I don’t know whether this was because they had had a huge ‘rush of shoppers’ or whether it was down to lack of staff.

Across the shop, the Co-op brand was very evident with pos material that read: ‘Bringing you the best of Co-op’. And there was a big ‘Nisa Making a Difference Locally’ sign which told shoppers that the store was supporting their local community. It said: “You shop. We donate”.

At the time of my visit children were coming in on their way home from school. I imagine they were attracted to the American Candy section within the confectionery department with lots of tempting treats.

There is also a Tango Ice Blast machine which seemed to be using Costa cups, and a F’real ice cream machine.

The off licence chillers had take-home packs of beer and cider in them, which was good to see, but again there were gaps.

The toilets were clean and tidy. 

On a mission: I was looking for something to take home for my dinner so was delighted to see Cook freezers with their delicious ready meals inside.

In the chillers, there was a fresh meat section offering items from Claytons (since 1924) but there were more gaps than stock. What was on offer did look very nice.


Anything else? I was fascinated by the Van Holten pickles. With names like Sour Sis and Garlic Joe, these are huge American pickles served in a plastic pouch. This was the first time I had seen them in the UK but since visiting this site, I have seen them in other forecourts. I know pickles are ‘big’ in the US but I wonder if they will catch on here?


Thumbs up for:

• Store design

• Communication to customers

• Excellent range


Thumbs down for:

• Availability ie lots of gaps on shelves