Holding court at Creightons Blacks Road

Creightons Blacks Road

One of the city’s most iconic retailers, group manager Andrew Porter and Blacks Road manager Pauline Elliott talk us through the smallest yet mighty site

Each of the three forecourt sites belonging to the Creighton Group in Belfast is unique in its own way but they all have the backing and ethos of a strong family run business. The Creighton story began in 1936 when WG Creighton opened a car repair shop on the Finaghy site.

As Group manager Andrew Porter explains, “They put a petrol pump in at one stage and started selling basics like milk and cigarettes.”

The rest as they say is history and the company is today run by son, Niall Creighton and his sister, Mrs Gail Boyd.

Creightons Blacks Road 2

The story of Creightons of Blacks Road began in February 2015 when the company took over their second site. The baby of the set.

However this is no baby in retail terms, as according to Andrew it is holding its own with the Finaghy and Balmoral retail sites.

“A significant investment was made into the Blacks Road site which was very run down when we took it over. Initially we extended the outside of the forecourt with an additional 10 car parking spaces and then in August 2016 we undertook a full renovation of the inside site. This included replacing the deli, the flooring and all the tills. We completely refreshed it and brought it up to our standards,” he explains.

“It is very different in look and feel to the other two sites for a start it is smaller at just 3,000 sq ft and it is a Spar store while the other two are EuroSpar. It has a Topaz forecourt and the other two are BP but it has many advantages none more so than its prime location.

Creightons Blacks Road 6

“We are in the heartland of three local schools where much of our footfall comes from,” adds Pauline who took up the helm of the business 10 months ago.

“I have been with the company for 22 years,” she reveals. “I started out as a full time sales assistant and then became a supervisor after I had my children.

“I’ve always enjoyed working for the company and found them an excellent organisation to work for but was hesitant when they approached me about managing the Blacks Road store.

“In the end with the support of Andrew and the team and after talking it over with my husband and children I decided to give it a go and to be honest I haven’t looked back.”

Creightons Blacks Road 5

Both Pauline and Andrew put the successful sales figures and the feel good factor of the site down to the stong teamwork.

“We have a team of 35 here and we all work really well together and everyone has an important role to play we are like an extended family,” Pauline explains.

“We have a strong corporate responsibility to the area and we get involved in lots of events in the area with the schools and with local charities.

“We work with the PTA at the local primary school and we provided all their fruit pots for sports day and ran a coffee morning and a Christmas Fayre in conjunction with them at events which were mutually beneficial.”

Creightons Blacks Road 4

In addition to strong corporate social responsibility, Pauline says one of the strengths of the forecourt is the deli which offers fresh homecooked food by a mother and daughter team who travel from Newry to ensure food is freshly cooked every day from six am.

“There is a really good atmosphere about the Blacks Road store which I attribute to the strong team of staff. They always make sure customers feel welcome and nothing is too much trouble. There is a strong family feel to the store

“Getting involved with the local community has been another major success for us,” stresses Pauline.

“We have a strong and steady footfall of about 11,000 to 12,000 per week which is excellent for the size of retail space we have.

Creightons Blacks Road 3

“In addition to the Deli, the coffee dock with Creightons own coffee brand is a huge success. Where we are situated customers can just come in and grab some food and a coffee to go and know they are getting quality produce.

“We also offer our own brand of home-made ice cream which is all produced in our Balmoral premises. This is hugely popular particularly with the schools on a Friday afternoon.

Creightons Blacks Road 7

“We also have our own butchery brand which there is strong consumer confidence in behind the name.”

Commenting on Pauline’s time at Blacks Road, Andrew states,

“Sales are up by 20% and she is doing a fantastic job. She has very high standards which she filters down to the rest of the team. They have a real sense of ownership and pride about working in such a successful Creightons store.

“We have a fantastic relationship with the teams at Hendersons and Topaz and we have aligned ourselves with strong and powerful brands.”

Creightons Blacks Road 8

Pauline adds,

“We also have great relationships with our local suppliers such as Emma Horner of Leopard Print Cards, who custom-makes our card range which is very popular, Country Kitchen Lisburn, Kelly Flowers, Cards Galore and Fluffy Meringue.

“We like to work with and support businesses in the area.”

 

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