LOCATION: This site is on a busy roundabout to the east of Birmingham city centre, in an area known as Kitt’s Green.
FORECOURT: The pole sign features the Texaco star, Premier logo, fuel prices and mention of the 24-hour off licence. The forecourt is a patchwork of concrete and tarmac. There are eight pumps and fuel is reasonably priced. But there is a notice saying that if you want gloves for when you’re using the pumps, you’ve got to ask for them inside. There is an air/water machine in an area covered in weeds and litter. And there obviously used to be a car wash on the site as a Car Wash Exit is clearly signed but boarded up. There’s rubbish dumped by the side of the old car wash.
The site itself is separated by a low red wall, which has seen much better days. A sales board advertising Lucozade is upside down.
Shop: There’s graffiti on the exterior of the shop and some of the frames for posters have no posters inside. Where there are posters, they are peeling away.
Entering this shop is like going back in time, as it’s like an old-fashioned corner shop where everything is piled high and there’s no logic to the layout. There is stock all over the floor (specifically stacks of lager and large bottles of soft drinks), but there are gaps in the chiller and on some of the shelves (in particular the car care section).
Some of the stacks of beer had plastic crates on top and there were two breeze blocks by another display to weigh it down? The 24-hour off licence must be the reason for the large booze range. Beer and wine is out front in the shop while spirits are behind the counter.
Generally across the shop, the range is quite extensive and probably covers distress purchases rather well. There were a lot of salty snacks and confectionery. My visit was early in the morning and coincided with children popping in on their way to school.
There was evidence of price deals/promotions and the Happy Shopper brand was dotted around the shop.
Aisles are narrow and the floor old and dirty.
There is an Espresso Essential coffee machine; the area was tidy and well stocked.
Rustlers burgers were available in the chiller and there was a microwave to warm them up.
The counter area is behind a Perspex screen (real post office fortress style), which I imagine is for security purposes?
The counter area in front of this screen is like a jumble sale, with air fresheners, Chupa Chups, Dairy Box, Ferrero Richer, KP Choc Dips, Twinkies and herbal tablets all stacked up. Next to these is the health and beauty/toiletries display. Behind the screen are Scratchcards, GadJet phone accessories and stacks of gutter lights, which seemed really odd.
Prognosis: Independent retailers are always being encouraged to join symbol groups to access better ranges and deals but also to access advice to make the most of their business. Think symbol group fascias and you generally think of improved standards but not in this case.
Diagnosis: I imagine this site trades on its busy location and the fact that it has a 24-hour off licence. I cannot imagine anyone going out of their way to visit it.
Prescription: A knockdown rebuild would be the ideal solution to make better use of the available space on the site. Failing that, just stripping out the shop and refitting it would be good. It needs a new floor, new shelving and a smarter till area. Yes, security may be a problem but there are ways of dealing with that.
I would advise the owner to make the most of their dealings with Booker/Premier and get them to give the store a makeover.
The forecourt area needs some TLC weed killer and paint would be a start.