All pumped up after a revamp

FORECOURT retailer John Sommerville has joined forces with symbol group Mace to revamp his Bathgate store.

Taking the reins of a site he operated for almost 20 years under the ownership of BP, Sommerville’s £100,000 investment has seen the store’s shop floor increase by around 30%, allowing for an expansion into food to go.
“There was no food facility before the refit,” said Sommerville. “All we did was sandwiches. Now we’ve got a breakfast and hot food during the night because we’ve got the nightclubs nearby.
“We’ll do anything up to 50 hot dogs on a Friday and Saturday night. In the morning, at three four o’clock, you can’t move for people queuing up here.”

As part of the food-to-go offer, Somerville has introduced Rollover hot dogs as well as a hot beverage range through Tchibo.

The introduction of a fresh deli counter has helped to beef up the forecourt’s lunch offer, which now includes a £4 meal deal comprising made-to-order ciabattas, with a drink and crisps.
The site’s off-sales offer has been expanded too. Sommerville has developed a range of beers, wines and spirits, including some locally produced drinks,  tailored to meet a broad customer base. As range revamps go it’s been a roaring success, with off-sales said to be up 300%.

Outside the store, Sommerville had his whole forecourt refitted, and his fuel offer is now supported by a drive-through car wash, valeting service and jet wash, all backed by a range of car care products in the shop.
To capitalise on all this investment, marketing activity has been ramped up, raising awareness of meal deals and food to go. The marketing blitz includes increased social media activity, with the forecourt’s offers now promoted on its Facebook page.

We recognised the need to offer more than just fuel, which has significantly impacted on our bottom line.

Sommerville, who also has sites in Glasgow and along the M6, said that as a forecourt business, when it came time to revamp, “we recognised the need to offer more than just fuel, which has significantly impacted on our bottom line.”

For any retailers considering giving their own store a refresh, Sommerville suggested identifying “one or two categories or services” that they can “become renowned for”.
“Capitalising on our location and passing commuter trade saw us place a huge amount of emphasis on our food to go and value for money offering,” he said.