Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
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Creating an Oasis for the future

It's been a busy summer for Malcolm Blake, director of Oasis Garage in Hull, North Humberside. Not only has he spent a small fortune transforming his tiny forecourt shop to a spacious Spar convenience store, he has also changed fuel brand. After nearly 20 years with Jet, during which time he spent many years on the dealer council, including as chair, he has switched to the Gulf brand. In doing so, Oasis Garage has become the first dealer site with the full-concept new Gulf branding.

A touch of class

Prepare to be surprised if you ever get the chance to visit (and I would definitely recommend it) the Guild Foods Market in the centre of Guildford, Surrey. Owned by Mayank Shah of MND Oil Co, this amazing newly developed concept store sits on a rather unassuming BP-branded filling station on a busy main road. You could easily drive past and be totally unaware of the unbelievable transformation that has taken place since last October, since when walls and ceilings have been knocked down and reconfigured to create a meandering palace of convenience and specialist food. It is the brainchild of business development manager Gary Kemp, a retail consultant with a long background in the retail and convenience business, including Spar and Nisa. His services were called upon by Mayank a couple of years ago.

Murco's mini marvel

The residents of market town Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire have got their service station back thanks to the efforts of Sithamparappillai Paramesvaran (known locally as Appan). Appan already has a successful convenience store but was interested in acquiring a forecourt site too.

Servicing the community

The Lincolnshire Co-op has been responsible for some of the rather impressive forecourt openings with stand-out Co-op branding that have been making the news in recent times. It currently has seven forecourt operations and in the past two years has spent around £3.75m rebuilding four of them to create excellent operations that have been a great boost to business. Ironically it's one of the smaller ones that has been proving the most impressive, according to Ian Bell, the organisation's commercial support manager.

Family service with a smile

For a small family business, the Garner Group has made a big impact on the fuel retailing sector not just with the long years of hard work, community spirit and jolly demeanor, but by creating the most amazing sites out of the most awkward of spaces. Back in 2014 Mike and Tim Garner were the winners of the Forecourt Trader Awards, having overseen an amazing transformation of Portsbridge Service Station, a small, traditional garage on a restricted irregular-shaped plot.

Investing with Gusto

The opening in March of the Dover-based Hammond Group's stunning Three Elm site at Tonbridge in Kent, was another step in an ongoing programme of development and investment for the business. The former rather outdated site closed in August and was replaced with a £2m shiny new BP-branded forecourt and two-storey shop featuring 280sqm of sales space on the ground floor, with offices, kitchen and meeting room upstairs built around a glass atrium giving a fantastic view down to the shop. The site also features an in-store bakery, Hammond's own food-to-go brand Café Gusto with a serve-over offer including hand-made Italian products and Lavazza coffee.

Journey to the top of the indies

It came as a surprise to many when early in 2018 the Motor Fuel Group announced its acquisition of MRH at the time the UK's biggest independent fuel retailing group. But for the management team at MFG it was the realisation of yet another great opportunity on a journey which began in 2011.

Signing up to growth

Top 50 Indie Refuel & Go has increased like-for-like sales by 10% since it relaunched its eight forecourt sites in London and the Home Counties under the Spar fascia.

Pioneering site leads the field

When the Forecourt Trader of the Year award winner was finally announced as the A26 Tannaghmore site in Northern Ireland, the stage at the glamorous Hilton on Park Lane erupted in applause and ticker tape, and everyone on the Maxol table fell off their seats.

Local attraction

On a swelteringly hot day at the end of June, the inhabitants of Harleston, Norfolk, were presented with a great community asset in the form of a fabulous new forecourt and convenience store, developed by Lawrences Garages (London) Ltd.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 18 November 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East131.0157.70138.30126.81
East Midlands130.59139.47126.61
London131.00140.06127.56
North East129.23139.06125.25
North West129.8364.92138.07126.36
Northern Ireland127.82133.40124.44
Scotland130.4852.70137.39126.25
South East131.4769.90139.42127.48
South West130.5064.90136.17126.41
Wales129.68135.94125.44
West Midlands130.33140.40126.46
Yorkshire & Humber129.8099.90138.58126.25

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