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The recent remodelling of Londis Caterways is a great illustration of the retail skill set that the Shingadia family has developed during their 30 plus years as convenience retailers.
I visited the Shingadia family’s new store in Horsham on the Tuesday before Christmas and met Ramesh and his son Amish. While the store has 1,300 square feet of sales space, it’s quite long and relatively narrow in shape.
They have moved the entrance to the end of the store and sited the big daily footfall drivers – newspapers, milk and bread – farthest away from the door to make their customers pass through the rest of the store.
Tobacco has gone under the counter, but customers know to just ask for their choice. I observed several sales and saw no issues with the arrangement.
The new Post Office gained a lot of publicity as it was the 5,000th to be relaunched under the network transformation programme. The open PO counter fits in well with the sales counter, and customers have clearly taken to the modern design.
The greatest addition that the Shingadias have brought to the store is a smile for every customer along with a friendly greeting.
I was very fortunate to be in the store when Jessica and her mum came to see Ramesh and Amish to present them with a giant gingerbread man. Jessica made it and iced it herself as a thank you gift; she wanted to personally welcome the family to the community. Her mum told me that the store used to be very unfriendly to children, so unfriendly in fact that her children didn’t shop there.
That has all changed – the customers I spoke to were very positive about their new store. As Ramesh has said, this is just the start for Shingadia’ Londis Caterways!