‘Our whole approach is different to our competition’

Shelley Goel explains how he sets himself apart from the other stores based on their turnover per square foot – he makes £23 per square foot a week in his.

LocationSolihull, West Midlands

Hours: 6am-11pm

Staff: Eight

Size1,000sq ft

Trading since 1997. With One Stop since
June 2013

With space at a premium in a convenience store, you need to make sure every inch works for you. Shelley Goel benchmarks himself against other stores based on their turnover per square foot – he takes £23 per square foot a week in his.

“There’s no magic to how we do it. We’re not hiding anything, but our whole approach is different to the competition,” he says, adding that no one else locally makes the effort to get to know their customers.

Shelley and his wife Anu greet every customer that walks into the shop in Solihull, West Midlands, asking them about their lives, cheering them up  if they are going through a tough time and telling them about special offers.

“Anu knows the name of every single customer. Some of them come in just for the conversation, Shelley says.

In the post office, Shelley has found the team is trusted to give advice on letters that his shoppers don’t understand.  “In this country, being a postmaster is like an institution. We help our shoppers when they get nasty letters and it brings a lot of goodwill.”

Shelley makes use of One Stop’s Food for Thought survey, which allows him to instantly see feedback from shoppers on a mobile app. “Most of our comments are positive, but any negative feedback we get can be addressed straight away,” he explains. 

The store opened in August 1997 as a joint venture between Shelley, his brother and their wives. It joined One Stop when the franchise first launched in 2013 to compete with an increase in competition. “Now we get six or seven cages every other day and milk and bread deliveries every day. We sell a high volume by giving our shoppers value.”

Engaging with customers not only drives profit, it also prevents loss. Crime is a rare occurrence in Shelley’s store, thanks to their unique way of dealing with perpetrators.

“When I see a child stealing something like a Mars bar, I approach them and say: ‘Why are you only taking one? Why not four or five to make it worth your while?’ Then they’re confused. They expect anger and confrontation, but we talk to them calmly about it. This way you develop an understanding and when they grow up they become your customers.”

This ethic of engaging with shoppers is instilled in Shelley’s staff and the Goels lead by example. “I don’t ask my staff to do anything I wouldn’t want to do myself. We do all the dirty work and we get stuck in when the cages arrive,” he says. The staff are paid a good wage to keep them motivated and make sure they stay part of the team for a long time. 

Shelley has big plans for the future. The business has won planning permission to extend into the garden behind it, tripling the shop to 3,000sq ft, with a vastly expanded range.

“If we extend the shop and get the right staff, we could easily top £50,000 a week. That target isn’t difficult to achieve if we have the structure,” he says.

They recently updated their soft drink chillers, installed LED lighting and put chillers on timers to make the store more energy efficient. “I don’t get passing trade, so I have to look for ways to save on overheads and costs,” says Asif. “I’m saving around £150 a month.”

Next on the agenda is to extend the chillers to focus on growing chilled, butchery, and fruit & veg, and expand their food to go.

“We take about £140 a day, selling hot dogs, chips, burgers and pizzas at lunchtime, but we need something that’s an all-day affair,” says Asif. “After I’ve done that I want to get
a refresh.”

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