The residents of market town Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire have got their service station back thanks to the efforts of Sithamparappillai Paramesvaran (known locally as Appan). Appan already has a successful convenience store but was interested in acquiring a forecourt site too.
"I knew a friend who had a forecourt and I knew the area manager for Murco. I got talking to them and they suggested Llandeilo Service Station as an investment opportunity," he says.
It was a closed-down site when Appan bought it last December. The shop was a shell there was nothing inside at all and the site had four fuel pumps.
Appan invested some £100,000 to totally redevelop the forecourt and the shop. "A very competitive fuel supply deal from Murco was extremely helpful in enabling me to release cash that I could use in the station’s redevelopment," he explains.
"Murco offers a very professional, yet personal approach to business and their ongoing support to me and my business is very welcome."
Appan’s existing convenience store is Premier branded so it made sense to him to brand his forecourt store Premier Express. "It’s a name people know and trust. They offer good prices and Mega Deals every four weeks," he says.
Every product he sells in the Llandeilo store is pricemarked: "Some forecourt stores have a reputation for ripping people off and I didn’t want to do that so all my prices are clearly marked."
To ensure he gets the best deals to pass onto his customers, Appan likes to shop around at cash and carries typically Booker, Batleys and Bestway.
He says the Premier Express has everything you’d expect from a small convenience store including an off licence. "We applied for the off licence before we re-opened. It was really straightforward and was granted within five weeks."
The site re-opened at the end of January. Appan advertised in the local paper and had big banners on the site saying ’Murco coming soon’. He said the opening delighted locals who’d had to travel either four miles in one direction or seven miles the other way to get fuel. He reports that so far fuel sales are better than expected, while shop sales are picking up each and every day. "I think some people might think we’ll be expensive but once they have used our shop they see all the pricemarked packs and come back."
Appan is busy running both his c-store and the new forecourt site but wouldn’t have it any other way. "Since reopening, I’ve got a very attractive station with increasing fuel volumes and the town has got back a valuable local resource," he says.