Small but mighty

Kelly's Vivo Lissan 7

Neighbourhood Retailer catches up with Kelly’s Vivo Lissan after they were crowned Neighbourhood Store of the Year Category 1 at the recent Neighbourhood Retailer Awards

“This store has really understood what a successful convenience store should provide,” was the high praise bestowed upon Kelly’s Vivo Lissan by judges at the recent Neighbourhood Retailer Awards.  Speaking to store manager, Timothy Johnston, Neighbourhood Retailer is keen to find out what this store’s secret is.

Located on Churchtown Road in Cookstown, Vivo Lissan is one of twelve stores in the mid-Ulster area that make up the Kelly family empire.

The first store was opened by their mother Denise in 1975 and sons Pearce and Shaun have gone on to acquire further shops in Maghera, Castledawson, Moneymore, Magherafelt, Loup and Toome with the award-winning Lissan convenience store and forecourt being one of the family’s smallest offerings at under 1,300 sq ft.

Kelly's Vivo Lissan

Lissan store manager, Timothy has spent 10 of his 11 years in the industry with Kelly’s and is a testament to the company’s strong ethos. “They are a brilliant company to work for and are very friendly and approachable. They look after their staff well and there is an incredible buzz about the place,” Timothy told Neighbourhood Retailer.

All retailers know that getting your staff to buy into your brand is half the battle and that happy employees are more likely to go the extra mile for a company.

In addition to being a store manager, Timothy is also the training co-ordinator for the entire company.

Timothy said: “As a business, we find that engaging staff from the beginning produces great results. We have an induction programme for all new starts that includes a general welcome to the company, where we outline what we are trying to achieve and how they can help us reach those goals.

“It is vital for staff to see how important they are to us and how they fit In with the bigger picture. Having a good team ensures repeat business and helps maintain good relationships with customers.”

Kelly's Vivo Lissan 6

Pictured here is Sonya McTeir, Jayne Bayne, Alana McCabe, Joanne Bell and store manager Timothy Johnston

The company train all of their staff at the J.C. Stewart’s site in Magherafelt which contains a purpose built training hub used for inductions, compliance training and refresher courses.

Timothy attributes the exceptionally high standard of customer service across the stores to the success of consistent staff training.

Citing their recent win at the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards as a “boost to staff morale”, Timothy said: “It’s a fantastic achievement and we are all very pleased with the result. I really do believe that the win is reflective of how fantastic the staff are in the Lissan store.”

In addition to excellent customer service, judges for the awards were also keen to point out that despite being a smaller store Kelly’s Vivo Lissan was extremely well stocked with relevant products and attractive merchandising.

Kelly's Vivo Lissan 3

With an attached Go forecourt, the site relies heavily on passing trade and fuel purchases. Timothy explains that their key products are impulse buys, such as drinks and confectionery.

“We focus heavily on promotions and a lot of research goes into providing the right promotion for at the correct the time.

“Big brands like Cadbury are eye catching and help to draw the customer in. By placing big name confectionery multipacks close to tills we help to increase spend on these impulse purchases.

“We have had a brilliant response to our ’12 Deals of Christmas’ promotion this year and have continued the two tins of sweets for £8 due to popular demand. If this trend continues Christmas sales will definitely be up for 2017.

Kelly's Vivo Lissan 8

Having traded in the mid-Ulster area for over 20 years, the Kelly’s brand has developed a reputation for quality and their fresh range is a huge hit with the locals.

“Three of the larger shops have in store butchers and these meats are delivered fresh to our other stores. Due to the size of Kelly’s Vivo Lissan we only stock key lines and the three for £10 offer incentivises extra sales.”

The company also boast an immensely successful line of ready meals named ‘Kelly’s Range’ which are all made by chefs at the Eurospar store in Maghera before being packaged and distributed to each shop ready to be heated up quickly by customers at home.

Popular dishes include spicy Asian noodles and chicken curry but the company has recently launched a healthy eating range that is proving to be a firm favourite with consumers.

Kelly's Vivo Lissan

Sonya McTeir and Jayne Bayne at the hot food/deli counter.

“We have seen a shift in consumer eating habits which is why we introduced our new healthier ready meals. Produced by real chefs using local ingredients, the range is low fat, low calorie and affordable.

“They have been tremendously successful in our larger stores and although we have only started trialling them at the Lissan site the response has been phenomenal. They are the perfect option for customers looking for a home cooked meal without the hassle – the quality speaks for itself.”

Part of what makes Kelly’s Vivo Lissan such a trusted brand can be attributed to the store’s strong links within the community.

“We like to help out our neighbours and work with the local schools donating fruit, drinks and ice cream for events throughout the year. The Lissan store has developed a great relationship with St Michael’s Gaelic Club and recently when they hosted a series of Come Dine With Me style dinners we provided party treats and favours for all the guests.”

Kelly's Vivo Lissan 2

A supporter of Cancer Fund for Children all twelve of the Kelly’s stores came together to raise money for the charity in July with a sponsored walk from their own sites to the Moneymore store that collectively raised almost £15,000 for the cause.

“It was a fantastic thing to be a part of and it really brought the whole community together. The sponsored walk was aided by fundraising raffles and bake sales which the Lissan team raised £1,000 towards the overall total. It goes to show that what a difference we can make when we all work together.”

Ending the year on a high, the Lissan store has big plans for 2018 to keep improving on everything they are doing including adding more shelf space, bringing in bigger promotions and reorganising the deli and hot food offering to launch static menus and a wider selection of sandwiches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *