Leicester retailer Sukhi Dhami has watched businesses boom and bust in his area, having lived there for 16 years, but it also allowed him to spot an opportunity.
He already had one successful Nisa Local under his belt, but set his sights on another store just nine miles away in the town of Earl Shilton.
“This used to be the only road you could use to travel into Leicester, and shops were thriving,” he says. “But 11 years ago, a bypass was built, meaning the high street was left empty.”
However, this didn’t stop a carpet shop at the top of the road from catching his eye. “Two years ago, I saw this property, and continued to hassle the owners to sell it to us,” he explains. “They soon agreed at the right price, and last February the deal went through.”
After deciding to extend his partnership with Nisa, the refit began. “This was a Co-op- registered building in 1926,” says Sukhi.
“After discovering how beautiful and bespoke it was, we decided to keep all of its original features.”
The store boasts original fittings and fixtures, bespoke lighting and a café. “We wanted to turn the back of the building into a café to generate more income and jobs for the local area,” he adds. “The concept of our food-to-go area will be similar to Subway. We will have a dedicated team offering a variety of eggs, bacon, steak bakes and sausage rolls. We have even managed to hire an ex-Starbucks barista – it’s all very exciting.”
One of the biggest challenges the store faces right now is its location on the high street. “We are situated at the top of the road, so a lot of people don’t tend to come this far up,” he explains. “But we’ve become heavily invested in the community to help get our store on the map. We are planning on putting a hot dog stand outside the shop for the Christmas light switch-on.”
The shop might only have been open for a month, but nearby residents are already taking full advantage. “There is a lot of council housing behind us which is great for daily income, as well as a big housing development which is helping to bring in a wider range of clientele. People like coming to our store because it has a premium feel but is very affordable,” he says.
Ensuring his store remains appealing is Sukhi’s priority. “We want to break people’s shopping habits,” he says.
“We try to stock products our customers ask for, we want to become their shopping destination.”
Although feedback has been positive, Sukhi is far from satisfied. “We are going to continue to improve this shop by bringing in new categories and elements. This is what drives us,” he says.
In five years, he wants to treble the store’s takings and have great customer relationships. “I want to become a part of this community,” he adds.
“I don’t want the store to just be a Nisa Local, I want it to be known as the Nisa Local of Earl Shilton.”