I am a hands-on independent convenience store owner with my wife Rukhsana, I run a Premier branded shop in what can only be described as a challenging community. The parade of shops where we are located is in the heart of a social housing estate in Blantyre and is a 15 minute bus ride from the center of Glasgow
We live and trade in a deprived area with high unemployment, drug problems and too much underage drinking. To stay legal we adopt a firm Challenge 25 policy for all age restricted products. We enforce this by having a fingerprint scanner at the counter and a CCTV camera that takes recordings of anyone buying restricted products. These recording give us protection from ‘agent purchasing’ and pushes underage drinking away from our shop.
Our top selling alcohol line is Buckfast wine, followed by Carling Black Label and Strongbow. Convenience lines are lead by 2lt full cream milk, bread and other staples. A couple of years ago we decided to offer our customers a lower cost policy on what we stocked and brought down the price of much of our range. We reduced the price of our 2lt milk to £1.20 and added a good number of price marked lines. In difficult times for our community our helping hand to our customers has been rewarded with an 18% increase in sales last year.
I personally have got involved in my community by setting up a football club for the local children. We now have over 60 children involved and have both an under 9 and under 12 year old teams. I am also chairman of the local licensing forum. We have sponsored both Alcohol and dog awareness leaflets that are distributed through the local schools for several years.
I have been an independent retailer for 24 years and can still say that I greatly enjoy the variety of the day to day life, every day is different and that suits me.