Jet Maybole is the first Jet and Spar dual-branded site to open in the UK. John McNee heard how the business has been doing in the months since its reinvention.
Timing an be everything in business.
Jet Maybole in South Ayrshire recently became the first Jet and Spar dual-branded site to open in the UK. Part of the Jet network since 2007, the site had included a 1,000 sq ft Premier shop which has been transformed into a 4,000 sq ft Spar shop and Post Office.
Owner Brian Connolly said he was delighted with the result. However, if the convenience partnership, which launched in April, hadn’t come when it did, things might have worked out very differently.
“We had decided we wanted to modernise the shop,” Brian said. “It had reached its maximum and was doing really well, but we felt we needed to future-proof it and see if we could take it to another level.
“We’ve been really pleased with our relationship with Jet, but we felt that if we wanted to have a much larger shop we needed some advice and stewardship and we felt that Spar were the people to go to for that experience.
“We were actually in discussion with Spar and Harvest and were going down that route until Jet and Spar joined up. That was just the ideal fit for us, being able to stay with Jet and get the full Spar experience.”
The original plan was to double the size of the store to 2,000 sq ft, but in the midst of planning the opportunity arose to relocate Maybole’s Post Office into the forecourt shop. That meant expanding to 4,000 sq ft and effectively transforming the business.
“It’s a really good package,” said Brian. “The Post Office is good in terms of footfall, bringing people in who would otherwise never have come in before.
“The shop looks absolutely superb and we couldn’t be more pleased with it.”
The 12-nozzle site has undergone significant refurbishment inside and out, making room for a huge expansion in terms of range and the addition of several new features.
Lottery and Costa coffee facilities are available for the first time, as are fresh fruit and vegetables, which have their own well-stocked display area. And that’s what many customers see first when passing through the store’s new side entrance, which opens onto a pedestrian precinct and which Brian said is working well.
“We were hoping it would be popular,” he said. “We didn’t want people walking onto the forecourt all the time. It has proven to be quite successful.”
Things couldn’t have gone better since the new store opened its doors in August, Brian said.
“The figures are through the roof, much better than we’d hoped for, even with a forecast that we thought was quite optimistic. The response has been fantastic.
“Over the last month we’ve effectively had two full-time Spar managers there helping us cope, keeping shelves stacked. They’ve been absolutely brilliant – a tremendous help.”
The expansion at Maybole is expected to create at least 10 jobs as the business develops.
Bill Mair, sales director for CJ Lang & Son, Spar’s wholesaler for Scotland, said: “The dual branding looks great and this, coupled with the recent investment in the site, is sure to attract customers old and new to both the forecourt and vastly improved convenience store.
“Thanks to the new partnership with Jet, we’re likely to see Spar’s presence on forecourts increase considerably in the future as more and more dealers see the benefits of partnering with two leading retail brands.”
Paul Yates, Jet territory manager, Scotland, added: “We believe that this partnership offers our existing dealer network – and any new sites that join – an opportunity to strengthen their own unique retail offering by combining two well-established and respected retail brands.”