Mindy Paul was “chained to the counter”, working long hours and stuck in a rut until a life-threatening incident forced him to change how he did business.
He tells Retail Express: “I was perfectly healthy, until the night I got rushed to hospital two years ago. Even then, I didn’t realise how serious it was until my doctor told me I could be gone within 48 hours.”
Mindy says he thought about his children growing up, how much he had missed because of his work and the opportunities he had never fulfilled.
“All I saw was an hourglass with the sand slipping through and I realised I didn’t want to waste another second,” he says.
The retailer set himself a goal that went against the grain: “I wanted to work fewer hours, and make more money.” It’s a goal Mindy has now achieved.
He explains: “When you have a goal and you focus on it, you see opportunities everywhere. I realised that I’d need to bring something in with a better margin and better sales and something people would travel at a set time to visit.”
The answer was craft beer. The store has now completed a total rebrand and added 130 lines, with the target of increasing this to 300 by August. Customers travel up to 30 miles to visit his store and the average spend in baskets containing beer is £56.
When you have a goal and you focus on it, you see opportunities everywhere
“Repositioning our brand was so important because if I want to be seen as a beer specialist, my identity and the store’s identity has to reflect that,” he says.
Asked how he established the selection in-store, he says: “I introduced the range, I talked about it in-store and online, we brought in bulk-buy deals and we left the beer case boxes nearby for people to use as baskets. It was important to build customer habits.”
As part of the store rebrand, Mindy moved away from traditional placement advice and began experimenting with what he says is a new, more profitable system.
Instead of giving premium eye-level space to just the mainstream brands, as most planograms recommend, he gave it to strong-selling lines that also have the best margins.
“We used to have a couple of supplier fridges but they can restrict what you sell, so we invested in our own. It cost around £15,000 but I’m confident we’ll see that back in not just additional sales, but additional margin as well,” he says.
Mindy concludes: “You’ve got to trust your own instincts.”
The store owner also provides advice to other convenience retailers on how they can improve their own stores by focusing on personal goals.
He explains: “So many store owners are afraid of change, just as I was. They consider making a change or making an investment, but then they think: ‘What if it doesn’t work?’
“Why not change your mindset and ask yourself, ‘What if it does?’ That is the question that will inspire you to make better decisions.”
Mindy advises: “We set targets for staff to sell 60 scratch cards a day. It’s not just to increase sales – it’s to introduce the purchases as part of someone’s routine.”
“Retailers now have the internet, trade magazines and each other. It’s never been easier to earn money. You can learn enough about a range to place an order in minutes,” Mindy tells Retail Express.
Mindy uploads his beer lines to the Untapped app, which notifies anyone interested in the brand. “You can run offers and it gives you so much product information on there,” he says.