GENERAL APPEARANCE: Glasbury Service Station is situated where the busy B4350 to Hay-on-Wye, the A470 to Brecon and the A238 to Hereford all converge. The site is signposted by a pole and a red Regent-branded canopy.
FORECOURT: The forecourt has used cars for sale, four islands of pumps (three under the canopy plus a separate diesel pump), a range of shop-front offers and customer cars parked wherever there’s a space. Access to the workshop area is to the side of the L-shaped site.
The pump prices were competitive but, as not all the nozzles were working and one was for agricultural gas/oil only, there was some delay in drivers being able to refuel. The pumps did not look as clean as they could be although bright pump crowners advertised current non-food offers.
Customer toilets were located to the side of the shop the ladies was out of order.
Outside the shop there were barbecue requisites and some large sacks of pet food. The shop window incorporated a large customer notice board that included a wide selection of upcoming local events.
SHOP: The entrance door looks rather shabby and that sets the scene for the shop. It is not in the best decorative condition and some of the lighting, fixtures and fittings are past their best.
However it is clear that the owners are trying many different offerings and deals to attract customers and to help boost turnover and profitability.
The shop includes a Post Office (open 9am to 1pm each week day), a photocopy service, display units of stationery and greetings cards.
On the left of the entrance is an under-used area that includes a display unit of socks and boots.
Food-on-the-go customers have a choice of various sandwiches and savoury snacks (there’s a microwave behind the counter), crisps, confectionery and a Nescafé & Go hot drinks unit.
There is a fair range of grocery products. In addition, Booker Happy Shopper and Euro Shopper products are available.
For holidaymakers ’whippy’ ice cream cones are available from the counter and there are displays of various holiday toys.
Tobacco products, OTC medicines and a limited range of beers, wines and spirits are all available behind the counter.
The limited range of produce and local products was a little disappointing.
Product availability was a little suspect with a number of shelves empty or nearly empty.
The one member of staff on duty was efficient and friendly.
PROGNOSIS: Glasbury Service Station is a multifarious enterprise and one that must present the owners with various challenges. Keeping on top of each of the main elements of the business workshop, used car sales, forecourt, PO and shop each with their different administration and staffing demands must be demanding.
The aim of all businesses should be to run a professional operation and to maximise sales and profits.
DIAGNOSIS: Constant reappraisal and investment is key and consideration should be given to a pump and shop renewal programme.
PRESCRIPTION: Glasbury Service Station has the attraction of being like an old-fashioned village shop clearly it is important to the local community. In addition to the expected services (for example, newspapers and top-up ranges), it has a PO and the local noticeboard was crammed with adverts for various events.
But it also needs to attract passing traffic and to maximise trade with holidaymakers. Glasbury is one of the main river Wye canoe centres and many visitors must be on camping and self-catering holidays. It is also close to the book town of Hay-on-Wye whose literature and other festivals draw significant crowds of visitors.
Common to all would be an interest in local food and drink. A selection of local products could be quite quickly and easily established.
A large number of the additional services are offered ’at the counter’ (off licence products, microwave and whippy ice cream, for example) and the one member of staff dealing with these may cause delays in serving other customers.
Finally, a review of the shop business cannot be complete without considering working in partnership with a symbol group. I am sure it would be worth a discussion.