Amit and Raj Odedra began helping out in their family’s convenience store as children, and have been investing in the ever-improving shop since they took over in 2011.
Their parents purchased the store in 1981, and since then it has seen a huge transformation. Expanding from a small, office-sized area to 2,777sq ft, the store also joined and left Costcutter and had a post office installed. The family joined Costcutter in 1990, but moved to One Stop in 2015 after supply issues.
“We had a refit with Costcutter, then another one when we joined One Stop to align with their plans,” Amit says. “With the refit, we emphasised that we wanted to increase our focus on fresh. So we added chillers, and we changed the layout to make a more open space.”
Location: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Hours: 7am-10pm Mon-Sun
Staff: Amit and his brother; their parents; two full-time and three part-time
Size: 2,777sq ft
Trading since: October 1981; January 2015 as a One Stop
Style: Based in a residential estate, near the city centre, with competition from Morrisons, M&S, Nisa and Tesco.
The increased fridge space allowed the family to stock a much wider fresh and chilled range; their next move is to consider options for a food-to-go offering.
“We have a lot of passing trade, which gives us a big advantage,” Amit says. “Something like fresh bacon rolls would be a good sales driver.”
Despite the success of the chilled expansion, not all went to plan with the initial refit.
“The shelving around the alcohol was made too big for the space, so it blocked the chiller and customers couldn’t see the products,” explains Amit. “A third of our sales are alcohol, so it was vital that people could see the full range.”
However, Amit and Raj came up with a creative solution to the problem. “We got tired of tweaking the area, so we got rid of it all and created ‘beer stacks’ – piles of beer boxes placed near the chillers that caught people’s eye as soon as they came in,” he says.
“We’ve carried on with them even after the shelving problem was corrected, and they sold really well over the August bank holiday.”
This is just one way that the brothers engage their customers. At certain times of year – such as Halloween and Christmas – One Stop sends themed uniforms and PoS to add theatre to the store.
“When customers come in and see you enjoying your work, they’re more likely to look around for longer because they feel comfortable,” Amit says. “It’s also a great way to make working enjoyable for the staff.”
Standing out from the crowd is important for Amit’s store, which faces competition from Morrisons, an M&S food hall, three Nisas and a Tesco.
“It’s crucial to be aware of what your competition is doing,” he says. “If you aren’t, people will go elsewhere.”
Amit says a big challenge is that the convenience sector still faces the challenge of outdated shopper perceptions.
“A lot of people still think convenience stores are expensive,” he says. “It seems to be a mindset they’re stuck in. People use the post office, but go elsewhere for bread and milk – even though ours is cheaper than the supermarkets’.”
He adds that although prices are competitive in the sector’s fresh category, its quality is yet to catch up with supermarket standards.
“Fresh and food to go are growing areas, but I wish the quality of the fresh category was a couple of notches higher in our sector,” he says. “We’re getting the price right, but the convenience channel still has some catching up to do with quality.”
Aside from expanding their fresh and food to go ranges, the Odedras’ future plans are likely to involve a business expansion.
“If we open a new store, we’ll draw from our model that works, but we know it’s also important to be open-minded try new things,” he says.