The Green Welly Stop is situated on the A82 at Tyndrum, Perthshire – the gateway to the Highlands. It is some two hour’s drive north west of Edinburgh and an hour south of Fort William. It is at about the mid-point of the popular West Highland Way, the long distance footpath that joins Glasgow and Fort William.
In addition to a filling station and shop, The Green Welly Stop boasts a restaurant, Snack Stop, a Goodies & Gifts shop, a Whisky Galore shop, a Perfect Present shop and an Outdoor Store.
FORECOURT: It’s not really my idea of a forecourt, it’s just as they promote it – a filling station. There is no canopy, just four Shell-branded, open-to-the-elements pumps. The pumps are accessible but apart from air there seemed to be no other forecourt services available. To the rear of the complex is a HGV filling station and a large area designated for coach parking.
The whole complex is quite visible from the road but I think an opportunity may have been missed in not having a branded and illuminated canopy which would attract more motorists to stop.
SHOP: This is a large shop with all the categories – and more – that you would expect from a full-on convenience store. To the rear of the shop is a fairly limited chiller section offering a good range, including microwaveable snacks and own-label sandwiches.
There was a big stack of stock on the floor by the chiller. There is an island site for hot food including a hot drinks’ vending machine and there seemed to be an extensive beer, wines and spirits section.
In general the shop was well presented and I felt all rather predictable but what was noticeable was the range of gifts, toys and music. There was a wide selection of CDs and tapes including traditional Scottish music. I wondered how much of this stuff is actually sold.
However, two factors made this store visit memorable. Firstly, the outdoor/camping section. This was a comprehensive section full of accessories including insect repellent items. To me the star item was a Midge Trap on offer at £699.99! The second star attraction was the toilets. They were perfect and justly boasted the ‘Loo of the Year’ award for 2004.
PROGNOSIS: Much thought and cash has been invested in this complex. The large restaurant, Snack Stop and gift shops are clearly targeted and to make them pay must need a mass audience like coach parties. The Outdoor Store is designed to cater for keen walkers. Both these markets must be highly seasonal and I can imagine the complex looking fairly dead in the winter. However, the filling station and c-store should be more of an all-year-round proposition.
DIAGNOSIS: My concern is that more should be made of the filling station – a full canopy and forecourt services may be deemed inappropriate and would surely obscure the entrance to the Restaurant and gift shops. But it would make more of this all year round service and more forecourt traffic would help drive the c-store sales.
As Shop Doctor my focus is the filling station and shop so just a few comments on the rest of the facilities available at The Green Welly Stop. I just cannot understand why during the main holiday season the Restaurant, Snack Stop and gift shops close at 5.30pm. Or, why the need for such a large outdoor store as I would have thought that anyone going for a walking, climbing or camping holiday would take most of their kit with them.
PRESCRIPTION: To attract more passing motorists the filling station needs to advertise its presence more assertively. Thought should be given to some form of branded canopy and, for wet days, some form of protection for drivers when refilling their vehicles.
This is a well-developed c-store but as ever I believe insufficient attention has been paid to chilled and fresh foods.
I felt the shop was dominated by the camping, gifts and toys offerings and that it needed some ‘theatre’ and a convenience range promotional programme to help drive shop sales further.
A fascinating enterprise which I feel needs a little more thought and sophistication to make it a must-stop location.