LOCATION: South Cave is a village, approximately 12 miles from Hull. This Sewell on the go site is just off the busy A63. Forecourt: It’s a very impressive drive into the site with the pole sign featuring BP, Costa Express, Subway and Nectar points. There’s another big sign with the message ’Subway We Are Now Open’ and a smaller one communicating the free-to-use ATM. Yet another sign advertises the Car Spa jet wash and drive thru. A lot of signs but there’s lots of space, so it’s not cluttered.
FORECOURT: The forecourt is clean and tidy. Fuel prices appeared to be on the competitive side.
The Car Spa offers bronze, silver and gold washes from £3.99 to £6.99. There’s butane, propane and patio gas as well as AdBlue, plus a recycling bin for shoes, clothing and textiles in aid of Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
There are 25 parking spaces and a small outdoor eating area. Plus there’s the usual products outside the shop including newspapers, barbecue briquettes and a screenwash offer of ’two for £6’.
Shop: The shop has very striking signage, simply stating ’Sewell on the go South Cave’ and then six bright green circles, each with messaging inside: free wifi, 24 hours, free ATM, 24 hour off licence, WC and baby changing and hot drinks.
Inside, there was signage for the Sewell on the go Rewards Card 5p off a litre of fuel when you spend £25 in store making the fuel even more competitively priced. Then there’s the Subway, with seating area on the left and, directly in front, a table set up with flowers and gifts including candles and diffusers. There was also a ’summer fun’ toy display.
As befits the ’on the go’ name, South Cave has an excellent food-to-go area and you’d be hard pushed not to find something you’d like. There’s a wide range of rice cakes and flapjacks, Slush Puppie machines, porridge pots, hot pastries (the heated display cabinet was not as full as it could have been), a Rollover hot dog stand, a hot water dispenser for tea, Graze snacks, fresh fruit, Costa Express and Urban Eat sandwiches priced from £1.95 to £3.35. The current craze for protein snacks was met by products such as Just Egg pots. Messaging next to the Rustlers burgers says ’Feel free to use our microwave’.
Elsewhere in the shop, there are plenty of unusual lines (that is, unusual to find in a forecourt store) such as Teapigs’ Matcha drinks, dairy-free cakes, Gnaw chocolate and Staal smokehouse salmon. And local products such as ales, teas and granola were all highlighted well.
The décor includes wood-effect flooring and an open ceiling revealing metal piping and tubing.
The off licence is obviously an important part of the shop offer. There was a very impressive display of wines on top of a massive tyre as well as stacks of beer and wine around the shop. Secondary merchandising is in evidence with pouches of olives and boxes of ’Chocolates for Wine’ in the alcohol section and a beef jerky clip strip on the lager chiller door. The chiller doors also have messaging about ’green thinking’.
Other store highlights include a Big Snak Shed display, a Pound Zone for non-food lines such as washing-up liquid and a great fresh fruit and veg section chiller with artificial grass on the shelves and produce in baskets on top of this.
Toilet facilities were good. There’s great wall messaging as you come out of the toilets all about Sewell starting in 1876 and being ’Local, Independent and Convenient’. Plus customers are encouraged to email managing director Patrick Sewell direct with any queries, which is rather a bold move.
Prognosis: Sewell has 12 on the go locations around Hull and East Yorkshire. The South Cave site was the subject of a £1.5m investment late last year. Managing director Patrick Sewell is keen on backing local businesses and supporting the local economy.
Diagnosis: The only problem with a site as good as South Cave is keeping up the excellent standards.
Prescription: It’s pretty hard to find fault with this site as it has everything anyone stopping at a forecourt could ask for and, more than that, when they’ve visited once it must be a destination stop for many of them afterwards.