A £200,000 co-investment project has seen the creation of a flagship Spar forecourt store for a family-run Dorset business following a major redevelopment scheme.

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The project, undertaken by Olly Andrews, owner of Maiden Newton Service Station with Appleby Westward, the regional distribution company for Spar stores in the south west, is the culmination of a major investment for the future by the Dorset businessman.

The investment began last autumn with a £250,000 expansion of the garage forecourt involving the installation of new fuel tanks, pumps, pipework and the introduction of supreme grades of diesel and unleaded Texaco petrol.

This spring the £200,000 Spar forecourt store expansion got underway, increasing the size of the store to 2,425sq ft and introducing a variety of new features for customers across a wide area of rural Dorset.

“Basically, we’ve safeguarded the whole site and future-proofed it for many years ahead,” explained Olly. “We reopened the new-look store just before the COVID-19 crisis and were already attracting new customers quicker than we thought.” During lockdown, new staff were taken on as the store ramped up home deliveries to customers in Maiden Newton and surrounding villages.

An eye-catching, innovative layout from the moment customers enter the store has been a key feature, with a dedicated meat counter serving produce supplied by a local farmer, and fresh fruit and vegetable stands have contributed to big increases in sales. Also featured are a wider choice of chilled and frozen products including the popular Cook’s frozen meals range, and an extended, dedicated off licence section.

“We made the store more spacious by taking in part of an old workshop,” said Olly. “It’s wheelchair-friendly and represents the third major extension we have made in the past seven years, enhancing the full convenience offer we are able to provide to the local community.”

Outside the store, a wooden hut dedicated to the sale of fresh organic milk from a local farm has proved very popular, set up with a self-serve contactless vending machine making the whole transaction easy and safe.

Olly and his team are regular award winners at the annual Appleby Westward Retail Awards, currently holding the Community Retailer of the Year and Best Neighbourhood Forecourt Store awards, while Abi James holds the Best Store Manager title.

The Andrews family has run the business for over 40 years and Olly took over the business from his mother Melodie eight years ago after 15 years in business management. The store has been trading under the Spar fascia for more than 20 years.