Retailer profile: Ibrahim Bahceci, Today’s Express

Ibrahim Bahceci’s family has been in the grocery trade for four generations.

His father ran a cash & carry business in the Turkish city of Malatya, and now Ibrahim is growing their estate in Fulham, south-west London. To do this successfully he realised he needed to join a symbol group.

The facts

Location: Fulham, London

Trading since: July 2014

Staff: 8

Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Size: 750sq ft

Style: Compact store with a full convenience offering including coffee machine, bake-off, fresh food and off-licence. Located on a busy London street close to both residential areas and hotels. Immediate competitors include a Londis and a Co-op.

There were good reasons to go with Today’s for his first fascia, he says. The group offered greater flexibility on buying decisions than some others, which means he still feels truly independent. Being proud of his heritage, he also liked the red and white colours – the same as on the Turkish flag.

With the help of Today’s Group and am2pm Retail, he has converted this former dry-cleaning shop into a compact, hi-spec convenience store with a full fresh food and bakery offering.

“We are aiming for a shop that is between a regular convenience store and a supermarket,” says Ibrahim.

“It will work for us because we are unique in the area. We are open 24 hours a day and offer fresh coffee and bakery, which most small shops don’t. We are going to stock organic produce, too – we are aiming for the premium market.” 

Barely a fortnight since the doors opened and Ibrahim already has a good idea which categories will sell best: soft drinks and wine. With so many hotels nearby, a lot of tourists are looking for a nice bottle of wine to take back to their room, and they are not as price conscious as regular customers. 

Because of this he is able to sell bottles at well above the £6 mark. Tastings to be held in the shop will create further excitement with his offering.

One unexpected result has been how quickly fresh food and dairy have taken off. “Since we opened, 60% of our customers are buying fresh fruit and veg,” he says. 

But it’s not just about stocking ‘fancy’ food and drink. Ibrahim knows the value of brands, and promotions will be key, including price-marked Boost and Red Bull, and buy-one-get-one-free deals on Volvic water.

Top tips
  1. The internet is the future:For customers spending £20+, who live within two miles of the store, Ibrahim will offer home deliveries within 20 minutes of online orders.
  2. Offer fresh coffee:There are several similar sized convenience stores in the street but this is the only one that is open 24 hours a day, offers fresh food, coffee and bread.
  3. Use what you’ve got: The dry cleaners they took over from had been on-site for 29 years. They kept the dry-cleaning business to keep the customers who have used it for the last three decades

“You have to follow Today’s promotions precisely or people will think you are charging them too much.”

With competing shops that have been trading in the area for a long time, Ibrahim knows he needs to persuade lots of people to come into his shop for the first time. 

He already has links with the community, working with the Queensmill School for autistic children.

But what really impresses is his eye for innovation. To remind customers about his shop, he has created fridge magnets that display his store information. The business is developing an online ordering site set to match Domino’s Pizza’s promise to make a delivery within 20 minutes of a customer placing the order.

This service will initially be for customers placing orders of at least £20 and who live within two miles. Drop-offs will be made by van or scooter. They will also deliver goods for customers who spend more than £20 at the till, and for elderly customers.

He says: “Looking after our community – particularly the elderly – is something that’s really important to us.”


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