Last year, Retail Express visited Alkesh Pankhania in his Best-one store in Sunbury-on-Thames. One year later, RE caught up with Alkesh to see how he’s been getting on.

One step at a time is Alkesh Pankhania’s motto for 2015. He’s taking a store refurbishment and the growth of multiples all in his stride.

How is the refurbishment coming along?

I have just had LED lights installed and the store rearranged to have better displays so customers buy products they didn’t know we had. The biggest step will involve knocking down walls and improving our chiller facilities. I’d like to get it all done at the beginning of 2016. 

Is food-to-go still vital for your store?

It’s still working really well and we’re looking at suppliers to install a fresh coffee machine. It’s going to complement the bakery as a linked purchase. It’s annoying when customers come in with a cup of coffee from elsewhere and buy their croissant from us.

Any other range changes?

We’ve increased our Asian products. Customers from every community want to know how to make curries and my wife uses these products so we’re able to offer them advice.

How are you coping with the growth of the multiples?

Retailers must push the boat out and show why people should shop with them. Our staff wear name badges now for that personal touch, and they’re wearing black tops to look more professional. We want to demonstrate that we can do whatever the multiples can, but with a personality.

Take a look at the original retailer profile from last year