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"The Payroll department not only deal with the on-going payroll processing of the Appleby Westward staff," (says Jo Hounsell, Appleby Westward's HR Director) they also work with a large number of our retailers who outsource their payroll to Appleby Westward'.
SPAR retailer Eric Eveleigh has more than quadrupled the size of his forecourt store at Exminster near Exeter, resulting in a huge uplift in business, especially now the summer holiday season has got underway.
Exminster Stores is situated on the busy road between Exeter and Dawlish Warren and, in a £200,000 co-investment scheme with Appleby Westward, Eric has extended the previous 400 sq.ft. store to a 1,900 sq.ft. business which has pulled in new customers in their droves.
Previously the store focussed on soft drinks, snacks, ice cream, a limited range of alcohol and car accessories. Now it has been transformed into a modern convenience store servicing the convenience shopping needs of the local community and motorists heading to and from the coast.
The forecourt shop kept trading as the enlarged store grew around it. The new store now has a much larger amount of chiller space which has boosted sales of ready meals, merchandising them more prominently. Considerable space has been devoted to the frozen foods category as well.
In addition, a 7.2m chilled fixture now allows for a much larger offering of beer, wines and ciders, as well as ambient fixtures for red wine and bottled ales and a promotional unit for wine at the front of the store.
Eric is focussing on making fresh produce the key department in-store and to make it the focus for customers as they enter. "The aim is to drive customers through the store by passing the fresh produce first," he said. As well as a range of SPAR fresh produce, he is stocking local lines as well.
"I think local people were looking for an alternative to the nearby Tesco Express and we have certainly given them that," said Eric. "We have had a great reaction from customers and we are very pleased with the development. We have gone from being a forecourt shop to a convenience store. We want to be seen as a village store and petrol station, whereas before it was very much a petrol station with a shop."
The site has been run by the Eveleigh family for the past 40 years. Eric's father started the business as a workshop and car sales showroom before getting into fuel. Eric returned to Devon from working in France three years ago and decided to take on the business and become a part of the community with his wife Jo and two children. “We always thought it was a good site," he said. "There’s a load of potential, as the road is really busy in the summer."
Appleby Westward predicts turnover should hit £20,000 a week and initial sales have already been £15,000 before a Costa machine and National Lottery was installed. When the new BP canopy is fitted over the forecourt itself, Eric expects it to lift trade even further.
Note to Editors: For further information on Appleby Westward, contact us via our contact page
Article updated August 2015
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