Since uniting with Nisa to make their vision a reality, Umut and Didem Yeter are seeing regular basket spends of more than £30 just four weeks after reopening.
After finishing university together, the couple worked in London for three years before returning to the convenience trade. Umut’s grandfather owned a store where Umut worked while he was at school.
Location: Holloway, north London
Hours: 7am-10pm Monday to Saturday; 8am-8pm Sunday
Size: 1,300sq ft
Trading since: September 2016
Style: An inner-city store catering to young professionals, minutes from Arsenal football stadium.
“That’s where I gained all my experience,” he says.
The Yeters’ business started with the purchase of a small, unaffiliated shop, directly opposite their new store.
“As soon as this one became available last year, we knew we wanted to take over,” Didem says. “Nisa seemed like the natural choice because they supplied our first store.”
The shop reopened under the fascia in late September. “Most of the locals are young professionals,” Umut says. “In the evenings, they come here to get their dinner instead of popping into Sainsbury’s. Our customers can find what they’d buy in a supermarket.”
Having Nisa’s branding on the new, larger store has helped the couple drive their target demographic through its doors.
“We never saw the local professionals in our other store,” says Didem. “We’re just getting to know them now.”
The symbol group also provides the Yeters with the produce and the flexibility they need to exceed the expectations of their inner-city customers. Unlike many of their competitors, the store offers fresh, locally-sourced food to go, as well as an artisan bakery and barista-quality coffee.
“Our food-to-go counter offers a local, organic range – fresh olives and pesto sell really well,” says Umut. “People are veering towards fresh and healthy products, so we knew we needed to offer that.”
“A lot of people come in especially for the coffee we make,” Didem adds.
The Italian BFC Galileo machine offers shoppers an indulgent option, while the store’s Costa machine caters to city workers in a hurry.
Positioned directly opposite the coffee stations, freshly baked pastries are unmissable to commuters looking for a transportable breakfast.
When it came to laying out their new store, the couple took a risk by opting out of Nisa’s merchandising assistance – but it’s a risk that paid off.
“Getting the layout right was a challenge,” Didem says. “Nisa sent us a plan, but they knew we had our own vision, and gave us the flexibility we needed to make that happen. When they visited us, they were impressed – they said we’d done it as well as their own merchandisers would have.”
Umut adds: “They say build up slowly, but it’s important to have everything in at once, so you’re 100% ready by the time you open. If you don’t have something, customers will remember and they won’t come back. They don’t see stores as retailers do; to them it’s a store missing a product, it’s not a growing and expanding business.”
Standing by their vision has helped the Yeters give their store a quirky feel, and appeal to the younger, health-conscious generation that lives in the area. One product selling exceptionally well is packaged raw nuts, supplied by a local health food company.
In addition to their raw nuts and organic range, the Yeters are capitalising on the growing health craze for protein, with protein products directly beside the till.
“There’s a huge leisure centre just down the road, and a lot of the locals are runners,” Umut says. “They come in for a bottle of water, and impulsively pick up a healthy snack.”