In early January, we started refitting some of our five stores in partnership with our wholesaler, Parfetts. I now have a Local, a Go Local and a Go Local Extra store. This means we are offering our customers an off-licence, a mediumsized convenience store and a larger store, all within a one-mile radius.
The new Go Local Extra fascia is more bespoke, and it means we can access stronger, more keenly-priced promotions. I always like to stock price-marked packs and strong promotions across our stores.
The cost-of-living crisis is affecting our business with higher wages for our staff and higher overall overheads.
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A refit is a significant investment, but we’re fortunate to have built up a lot of capital, which is one of the benefits of having been in the industry for 25 years. We also saw an uplift from sales of £80,000 a week to £100,000 per week during Covid-19. This was all while maintaining our overheads at the same level, which meant our profitability jumped by 40%.
Any business that didn’t see a significant increase in their sales during the pandemic just wasn’t retailing properly, in my opinion.
By keeping our store standards high, remaining keen on price and ‘boxing clever’ with our buying, we’ve managed to hold on to those additional sales.
Looking further forward, I’m now 50 years old, and I’m starting to think about passing my business on to the next generation, so that I can start spending a bit more time with my wife.
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I have three children and one is already working in the business, while another is currently shadowing one of our store managers to see if they would like to join the business as well. As far as I’m concerned, family life is most important of all, so I want to ensure I’m passing on a stable business for them.
It’s also important to make sure they know how to respect each other and have discussions where they might not agree without things blowing up. That’s really important.
One of the benefits of working with young people is they see things you don’t and bring fresh ideas to the stores. I remember when some of our younger staff members started telling me about vaping and how big it was. That’s something I hadn’t seen at all but, by listening to them and taking their ideas on board, I was able to add an important and profitable category in store.”
Bay Bashir, Go Local Extra Belle Vue Convenience, Middlesbrough
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