Former electrical engineer Vip Measuria certainly has a lot of energy for retailing. And with a second store under his wing – he needs it. Luckily he spent his time as a youngster working in the family store. Steven Lambert reports

The path to retail was a circular one for Vip Measuria, owner of the Priory Way Convenience Store in Borrowash, Derby.

As a youngster, he’d worked in his parents’ store, but when they sold it in 1997 he moved on to career as an electrical engineer.

“I loved working in manufacturing,” he says, “and I thought I’d be doing it for the rest of my life.” However, in 2007 the firm he worked for relocated production abroad.

“Ironically, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I worked for a while freelance as an engineer – it was good when the contracts came in, but it just wasn’t steady enough. I thought ‘what do I know about?’ Shops. Convenience stores. It’s what I grew up in.”

 <figcaption>Vip Measuria and his wife Jo are expanding their business with a second store</figcaption>” width=”173″ height=”300″> Vip Measuria and his wife Jo are expanding their business with a second store</figure><p>Before taking the plunge with his own store, Vip showed his methodical engineer’s nature by first relearning the ropes by working for a time in a friend’s store. “Retail had changed a lot between 1997 and 2007, so I was fortunate to have that opportunity to learn,” he says.</p><p>Come 2008, he was ready, and finally bought his own store. His first action as a retailer was, again like an engineer, to gather data on his customers.</p><p>“In the first six months, I observed what customers were buying, and asked them what they wanted.</p><p>“People have to be tighter with their money than they used to be, there’s this new pay as you go lifestyle.”</p><p>Understanding his market, he targeted their needs with precision. “I started offering more value products – I take a bit of a hit on the margin with Euro Shopper products, but they’ve been a big hit and the volume more than makes up for it,” he says.</p><p>Beyond all the information gathering, it did take courage to open a shop in 2008 – the beginnings of the global financial crisis that still affects businesses all over the world. “With the recession kicking off, everyone and everything was all doom and gloom,” he says.</p><p>Vip held strong against the doubters, mounting a major refit of the store after years of neglect by its previous owners.</p><p>“I spent a lot of money redoing the store in a full refit,” he says. “The previous owners had been quite old, and hadn’t kept up with updating the place. They had been a bit complacent – and the store suffered as a result. For example, the alcohol range was terrible. It was very small, so I extended it. You have to give people what they want.”</p><p>This research and investment has more than paid off – weekly revenues have shot up from an original £11,000 to £28,000 in only six years.</p><p>“It’s so important to learn from others’ mistakes. It just goes to show the potential the site had,” Vip says.</p><p>Potential is one thing, but it takes ambition and savvy to realise it. It’s paid off in one store, so Vip, not one to rest on his laurels, is expanding into buying another store – a converted pub on a main road not far from his first store.</p><p>[pull_quote_right]I’m a bit of a celebrity in the<br>local community – we’re the<br>people’s store. I love it[/pull_quote_right]</p><p>“I looked for a long time,” he says, “and this opportunity came along. It seems ideal, but only time will tell.”</p><p>Again showing the attention to detail and data that comes with an engineer’s training, Vip isn’t going into it uninformed.</p><p>“It’s very different to my original store – we’re on a main road this time, whereas my first store is tucked into an estate.</p><p>“This one’s going to be a bit different – a bit more modern, with more fruit, veg and fresh produce. We’ll be serving a slightly different market.”</p><p>Changing careers is about more than just changing how you spend your days. It’s about bringing experience and expertise gained in one field and applying it to another – like the thoroughness and detail that has been the hallmark of Vip’s growing retail portfolio.</p><p>This success is not without its rewards – the revenue figures speak for themselves, but there are intangible benefits, too.</p><p>“We get a lot of people commenting that other shops aren’t as good. I’m a bit of a celebrity in the local community – we’re the people’s store. I love it.”</p><h2> Visit our shop</h2><p><iframe style=