jai, singh, premier, sheffield, convenience, newsagentOnce I had left University, I then too had a full-time job and by now my brother was married and had bought his own place.  The shop was consistent in its sales despite local competition, however my father has an authoritarian style and was not willing to increase range or face items up, as he saw this as unnecessary.  The thought of a refit also crossed my mind, but my father thought it would be more work for less profit, as at present his margin overall was around 30%.  His argument was that by joining a symbol group you then have more customers, more turnover, and more promotions but sacrifice this in your profit margin.  He was trying to say that he would increase sales but with a diminished profit margin his overall gain would not be too great.

I could also see that by working on the till and having a good relationship with customers, that customers would return, however when other neighbouring stores had refits, I saw customers leave, but also return.  It was not only about pricing and customer service, but also the customer’s experience. The fact that we invest some of the customer’s money in making their store that little bit nicer goes a long way.

By 2007 I was myself married and it was getting tougher to carry on in the shop; our parents recognised this. In 2008 I bought my own store. My wife’s parents also had a shop so we were both from shop backgrounds; after borrowing money from friends and relatives and remortgaging our house we got our current store.

Read the final part of Jai’s story this Monday

<—Part One