Convenience stores provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to transform themselves into successful businesspeople and grow an empire, leading retailers have told RN.

This has been led by a shift away from the original ‘corner shop’ stereotype and towards a greater focus on business. The change was highlighted by BBC4’s documentary ‘Booze, Beans & Bhajis: The Story of the Corner Shop’, which aired on Monday night.

Mo Razzaq, who runs Premier and Family Shopper stores in Blantyre, Glasgow, said retailers who look for new opportunities have been most successful.

“It’s about plugging gaps in the market,” he said. “We have a Subway in our store that’s done really well, and a Post Office that has driven an increase in footfall by 45%.

“The older generation that came into the trade worked hard, but they had a different ideology. And in terms of new businesses opening up, shop owners are a bit more clued-up and business-savvy.”

The documentary also demonstrated how a convenience store can be a route into other businesses, using the example of hotel entrepreneur Lord Dolar Popat, who owned his first shop in the 1970s.

Third-generation retailer Steve Bassett, owner of six stores, which are predominantly Londis, said he has had far more opportunity to grow his business than his grandparents did.

“Convenience stores are easier to run and now there is the opportunity to expand into multiple stores – it then becomes more about managing people,” said the Dorset-based retailer.

Retailers who spoke to RN agreed there is far more information available to help shop owners grow their businesses – through trade press, social media and events – which has helped expand the industry and the prospects it offers.