It is an overused phrase, but the only way of accurately describing Broadfield News is as a beacon of success.
Set on a shopping parade in one of the most deprived pockets of south east England, Raj Nayi and his team have made their shop a destination not only for people living on the surrounding block, but for customers across the whole of Crawley. And what’s more, they have done it without alcohol or even basic groceries like bread and milk. At the heart of the business is a superb confectionery range and an imaginative approach to trying out ideas.
“I look to offer something unique that brings more and more customers in,” says Raj.
“Plus we always have one staff member who is on the shop floor at all times so that customers can ask them for help.”
He has a very clear vision of offering his customers the best deals possible and to do this he buys in bulk to secure the best prices from suppliers.
Some of the children who shop in his store buy three Galaxy chocolate bars for £1 and sell them on to friends at school for a healthy profit, and this is fine with Raj.
He also offers three energy drink cans for £1, two 500ml soft drinks for £1.40 and also sells Red Bull for £1 – even though the RRP is £1.35. He has a huge pound zone and offers regular special deals at half price.
“People think there is no money in sweets, but that is not right at all. Everybody likes sweets.”
After W H Smith, Broadfield News is the biggest magazine seller in Crawley, and Raj’s staff will order and keep specialist titles for customers. Not only is the shop among the top sellers of The Sun in the UK, but it has also made a name for itself as a seller of winning lottery tickets.
To create a sense of excitement they have put up next to the till a frame containing all the winning tickets presented at the store. So far the shop has single-handedly contributed £1million for the National Lottery’s Good Causes programme.
Raj says: “We are ahead of Tesco for selling lottery tickets in Crawley. When anyone buys a scratchcard or lottery ticket we wish them good luck, and we mean it.”
Although surrounded by other stores including symbol groups and a Morrisons across the parade, Raj’s shop is first choice for customers – including staff at the supermarket.
They get breaks of 20 minutes, and rather than waste 10 minutes queuing in their own store they prefer to wait for just two or three minutes to buy cigarettes and a drink in Broadfield News.
Another weapon in the shop’s armoury is a wide range of prices. The excellent greeting card section starts at 49p and goes up to £4.99 for special commemorative cards that are not sold anywhere else in the county.
Raj is always thinking of new ways to increase business and after researching the age demographic of people living in the neighbourhood he found 37 per cent of his customers were aged between 25 and 40. Realising this about the age people are looking to buy homes, he decided to sell affordable items to help them decorate their houses and last year the shop started selling wall art, which is displayed around the store. It has been a success. Some customers will buy a typical piece for £40 and sell it on eBay for more than double that sum. Again, Raj is happy with this entrepreneurial arrangement because it leaves everyone a winner.
Although Raj is the boss, his staff take ownership of different parts of the business, placing orders and deciding how to promote sections like greeting cards, confectionery and seasonal displays. The team spirit at the shop is obvious.
After winning an award in 2010 the staff decided to invest £1,000 of prize money in the local community rather than keep it, and they split the sum between three schools. They also helped out with one school’s maths project, putting children’s numeracy to the test in the store.
“Now the parents know that we are responsible retailers and that we are investing in the community,” says Raj.”
– Name: Broadfield Newsagent
– Location: Broadfield, Crawley, East Sussex
– Size: 1000sq ft
– Open: 6.30am to 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, 7.30am to 4pm Sunday
– Staff: 8
– Trading Since 2006
RAJ’S TOP TIPS
Know your shoppers
Move with the times
If you don’t adapt, you’ll lose
Seek savings with suppliers
Pass them on to customers