The Gills are a couple that like to cover all bases.

The facts
  • Nisa Local Langley, Langley, Slough
  • Hours: 6am-10pm Monday – Sunday
  • Staff: 15 part-time
  • Size: 1,500sq ft
  • Trading started: May 2015
  • Style: A Nisa Local complete with an in-store butcher and food-to-go café, on a parade of shops. It competes with a Tesco Express for the passing trade from Heathrow airport.

By making the most of every type of customer – from the Heathrow commuters and holidaymakers that pass their door to local families – they have ensured their newly-fitted Nisa store is making the most of every potential sale.

Originally a successful butcher and sandwich store, the couple saw the opportunity in the convenience sector and decided to transform their underused space into a thriving retail business.

“Our butchers was so successful we couldn’t let that go. Customers enjoyed our sandwiches, too, so that obviously had to stay,” says Palwinder.

Palwinder is a trained butcher and, along with another team member, caters for shoppers as well as providing meat to nearby restaurants and pubs. The husband and wife team make their own sandwiches in-store and try to keep up with breakfast rush hour.

“Before 8am the store is crazy,” says Sharonjit. “People are up early to go to Heathrow and sometimes the queue can stretch the length of the store with people waiting for coffee and pastries.”

Since transforming into a Nisa Local earlier this year, the store’s footfall has soared thanks to its premium image, compared to their “dated” Tesco Express neighbours.

The pair aren’t concerned about the multiple next door. “They’ve been here for as long as I can remember, but they are always under stocked and have limited range in key categories so we make sure we offer the best choice,” Palwinder says. 

TESCO HAS BEEN HERE FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, BUT THEY’RE ALWAYS UNDER STOCKED AND HAVE A LIMITED RANGE IN KEY CATEGORIES

Nisa LangleyFrom comparing the stores it’s easy to see that the independent retailer isn’t lying. They have a wide range of baby food to cater for fussy parents, compared to the small shelf dedicated to the category in the multiple. The Gills use LED lighting to showcase their products (as well as save money) and offer a wide range of spirits behind the till instead of having a covered gantry.

They make sure they alter their stock to meet customer needs. “If a customer wants something, we’ll get it for them. It doesn’t matter what it is, from fresh meat to canned products, we’ll do it,” Sharonjit says.

Not only do the Gills have the edge on Tesco Express in terms of range, but thanks to them owning the parade of shops both stores are on they also cash in from Tesco as it is them that the multiple pays its rent to.

Sharonjit and Palwinder say that although they have to go out of their way to get products for individual customers, the effort they put in helps build word-of-mouth, which is especially important for a new store. They also make sure they’re using Nisa Local leaflets and outdoor signs to promote their business as much as possible.

“This store is still young but we had a supportive team to help us put it together,” Palwinder adds. “It seems to be going well – I just don’t want to jinx anything by admitting it too early.”

Continue reading for top tips and a full gallery of their store.