Location: Athlone, County Westmeath
Key categories: Food to go, newspapers
Size: 4,000sq ft
Weekly news bill: €8 to €1′
My business has changed a lot over the 30 years I’ve owned it and we’ve grown to become a forecourt, convenience store and post office, with a deli.
There is lots of competition in this area, from an Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Dunnes, but the fact we’re a family-run rural business makes us special.
The services we offer our community also help us to stand out. We have an ATM and a self-service washing machine outside, both of which customers can access 24/7.
They’re very popular and families can use the washing machines to do three big washes in one go, so it runs day and night.
I try to make sure I keep the business up-to-date and on top of trends. Back in 2000, we completely demolished and rebuilt it to comply with legislation and this gave us the chance to open the deli. I’d like to add more products into this now and more fresh produce too.
More recently, I’ve started to revamp my forecourt and have put in new pumps, and I’m planning to renovate the inside of the store too to give it a facelift.
Working with suppliers and the NFRN has been helpful for me. I’m a member of News Pro, which has helped me improve my magazines range, and I joined the N3 this month too, to get help promoting news.
Ireland is just coming out of recession, so as my customers’ budgets have been tight, I’ve worked with Londis to get in as many offers as I can, and things like confectionery multipacks which offer value for money.
With Brexit leading to higher prices, support like this is going to remain very important.