A competitive edge, a strong team and a smooth journey are key to winning any race – and former racing driver Alex Kapadia was looking for the same traits when he joined Bargain Booze in 2003.
Alex Kapadia, Bargain Booze, Dunstable
- Hours: 8am-10pm Monday-Sunday
- Trading since: December 2003
- Size: 1,300sq ft
- Staff: Three part-time, three full-time
- Style: A Bargain Booze franchise on a parade of shops in Dunstable with a large Co-operative next door. He caters to the customer that “looks for a good deal”.
“With this company my stores run seamlessly. I can trust my management team and I know that head office support their franchisees,” the Bedfordshire retailer says.
Alex has worked with Conviviality Retail to open two Bargain Booze stores – which were refitted in just three days – and three Wine Rack stores. But a quick pit stop isn’t the only reason why he has stayed loyal to the group.
Earlier this year, Bargain Booze launched its ‘Aldi-Schmaldi’ campaign to communicate the great value of its deals. “In 2014, we were 12% cheaper than supermarkets. The franchisees knew that, but shoppers didn’t realise,” says Alex.
“The marketing team did a great job to give us a voice and the in-store campaign was amazing – we were selling Smirnoff for £9.99 but the competitors were at £16.99.”
Stiff competition is something Alex knows a lot about, with a Co-op next door. But Alex uses it to make the most of his store.
“It really helps us. It complements our store and brings people to the area,” he says. “Customers get their dinner for tonight there but quickly realise we’re cheaper for alcohol.”
It’s no surprise that his lagers and wines are popular with customers looking to save a few extra pounds. But he’s also become a specialist in e-cigarettes and now trains other Bargain Booze franchisees how to make the most of the category.
In February 2013 he created a designated e-cigarette area and trains his staff thoroughly – providing them with the knowledge to answer all of their customers’ questions. The attention to detail has resulted in a four-fold sales increase.
“We haven’t just plonked them on the till, we’ve made a display and sales have gone up to £2,000 per week,” he says. “We’re the only e-cig retailer in the area and customers would rather come to us to ask questions than get who-knows-what online.”
The location of any business is vital, and Alex is working with Bargain Booze to find the right location for another store. “You need other businesses around you – whether that’s a takeaway or another convenience store – to help each other,” he explains.
“It depends on what kind of store you’re opening. My Bargain Booze shoppers are the kind that like to save an extra 50p and come in regularly. But my Wine Rack customers come in less but spend more and bulk buy. It depends on what type of customers are in the area.”
Working with Conviviality to pick a location isn’t the only support he’s had. Regular meetings with directors, online forums, specialised alcohol training and strong PoS have helped retain his loyalty.
“It’s a struggle to think of something bad to say about them,” he says.
Bargain Booze is giving away free 24-hour store refits to the first 100 retailers that sign up to the franchise. Find out more here.
Continue for a full gallery and Alex’s top tips.