Not many shops can claim to have something for everyone, but Karl Crompton has transformed this former watering hole into a shining example of how to cater for all your shoppers and make a killing in the process. His shop sits on a main road bisecting one of the tougher estates in an outer district of Manchester, and to make life easy for his shoppers has kept the pub’s name.
He spent two years looking for the perfect venue and visited more than 1,000 pubs but only two measured up to his strict requirements. “I had three things on my list that I was looking for – it had to have a car park, a big council estate and be next to an A-road. This one was spot on.”
It was also a bargain – he snapped the property up for the same price as you would pay for a small terraced house in the same area. But it has not always been easy though – opportunist robbers tried to take advantage of the new business with a raid over the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, but Karl was undaunted and is now making a healthy weekly turnover less than six months after throwing open the doors to his shop.
The self-confessed workaholic puts in 17 hours in the store every day of the week and says that what has really motivated him is seeing the transformation of the old, dilapidated pub into a bright, successful shop, for which he is proud to work hard.
“I don’t have deliveries – I do everything myself. The reason this shop is a success is because it has everything people could want, and it’s clean.” With the bulk of his customers all looking to save pennies wherever possible, price-marked packs are a huge part of his business and account for 80 per cent of all his stock.
He says: “The margins are really not that much different to non-price marked stock. It’s a con at the end of the day. If you had a bunch of bananas price marked for £1.50 next to a non-price marked bunch going for 99p, people would still buy the more expensive one. PMPs are important on everything because it makes people think they are getting a bit of a deal.”
When he first opened the shop he sold bread for £1 and now the store has bedded in he has put it up to £1.20. The key, he says, is to compete with the multiples on bread and milk prices to get your customers through the door, and then tempt them with the other things you have on offer.
Premier’s promotions are another great way of boosting footfall and a key reason he decided to join forces with the symbol group.
“We put 500 leaflets into people’s homes every four weeks – the things on promotion don’t make you lots of money themselves but they do bring people into your store.
“I wanted something for my future. My other shop in Bolton has no branding, but if you want a living today then you need a symbol.”
On the advice of Premier he created a fresh fruit gondola end, separated out the cakes from his breads, and built up a first rate chilled section. And did it work? “Of course it did,” he says.
“If you go into a Tesco Express the first thing you notice is the chilled section.”
In the future he has big plans for expanding his shop with the adjoining room at the back which still needs to be refurbished. As soon as he has enough cash, he will transform it into a cafe-cum-chippy, which he hopes will further boost footfall from the estate – and all of which he plans to complete within the next 12 months. “This is a rough area but these people are the ones who spend the cash. I like working hard and I love making money.”
SHOP AT A GLANCE
- NAME: Stumble Inn Convenience Store
- LOCATION: Little Hulton, Manchester
- SIZE: 1500sq ft
- OPEN: 7am – 10pm, Mon to Sun
- Staff: 5
- Date trading began: May 2012
KARL’S TOP TIPS
- Make sure your availability is perfect
- Work hard
- Take advantage of PMPs