Aman and Joga Uppal are second-generation retailers, running a business that’s been in their family for more than two decades.
Their parents bought their Mount Nod store in 1993 and were the second Londis to open in the area. “We traded with them for 23 years – but traditionally, Londis is stronger in the south,” says Joga.
In February, they rebranded as a One Stop, switching to a unit next door they bought in 1999 and had been leasing to a butcher.
One Stop Mount Nod, Coventry, West Midlands
- Hours: 6am-10pm Monday-Saturday, 7am-10pm Sunday
- Trading started: 1993, moving to One Stop in November 2015
- Size: 1,800sq ft
- Staff: Three full-time, seven part-time
- Style: Located in a small village parade, next door to the family’s original Londis store. The nearest competition is a Co-op. There are several supermarkets in nearby Coventry.
“When Dad bought this unit, we had an idea that if the butcher ended his lease we’d take it over,” Joga says. “It’s a better site – we can use the land outside, and it’s more visible to passers-by.”
However, it hasn’t been easy for the Uppals to get the new store up and running. Their plans were delayed when the 2008 credit crunch hit and they had issues with development.
“We started building in 2011,” Joga says. “But in 2012 we had issues with the builders and then the roof collapsed.”
The family continued trading from their original premises, but it heavily delayed the new store opening. To add to their problems, a petition was launched by members of the community demanding that the “eyesore” roof was mended.
Joga says: “Those issues set the business back by five years. Everything was so uncertain.”
Then, last year, their father Balvinder Singh Uppal passed away before he was able to see the new store open.
“He was the head of our business,” says Joga. “He pushed for us to move over to One Stop. We’re proud of our store, but it was his vision – it’s his legacy.”
Joga, who has a Master’s degree, considered a career in finance before deciding to return to his roots.
“Working with family and retail is what we love,” he says. “When you’ve grown up with retailing in your blood, it’s a real passion.
Aman says that there were several aspects of the One Stop offer that attracted their interest. “They gave us a £50,000 store investment – no one else is offering that really,” he explains. “They’re also selective. They look for the right type of retailers.
“One Stop’s support has continued beyond that – we can access more, such as the EPoS system that has a 24/7 support line, so we don’t have to wait for solutions to our problems.”
The brothers say their range has improved, increasing average basket spend by £3.
“We’re stronger on promotions; the £1 bread, milk and eggs are bestsellers,” Joga says. We also have the Great Value £1 range now, which is flying off the shelves.”
Joga says they have increased chilled space from seven metres to 20, and despite the increase in fridge space, the new layout, new chillers and LED lighting, they have actually lowered the business’ energy bills.
In the future, the brothers plan to continue growing the new store, but for now they’re focusing on the value they bring to the area – something they’re measuring using One Stop’s Food for Thought service – an online review platform.
“It’s like TripAdvisor for retailers,” says Aman. “At least if we aren’t doing something right we can work on it.”
To read more on Joga and Aman’s journey, read our series here.