A new lease of life for Bush Service Station
Sales at the “non-stop” Bush Service Station are thriving as manager attributes much of the store’s success to its partnership with Solo Fuel.
The busy convenience store on the Bushmills road in Coleraine has experienced various changes over the last two decades. Moving from offering less traditional bulk-style products, to more fresh food-to-go, manager of the Bush service station, Thomas Mailey, tells Neighbourhood Retailer how the store is keeping up with modern consumer trends.
“The store was bought over by current owner Crawford Henderson around 20 years ago. Back then, it was just a simple shop with no major expectations for anything bigger. But today, the business is flourishing, and we’ve just completed a 700 square ft. extension that we hope will increase our footfall.
“The store is non-stop. We try to cater for everyone, whether that’s a hard-working family, elderly customers, or young professionals, we always try to make sure we are meeting all our customers’ needs.”
Thomas Mailey has been involved in the store for 17 years, and has seen first-hand how the convenience industry has changed and evolved over the years.
“Everything is geared towards fresh food now. There’s a definite shift in more people wanting to have fresh, daily foods rather than foods more suited to a big traditional weekly shop.”
This trend noticed by Thomas seems to be spreading across the board in the convenience industry and shaping the future of grocery retail. With more variety and choice than ever before in our grocery stores, and more frequent shoppers buying a smaller amount each time, major weekly shops are becoming a thing of the past. Nevertheless, although shoppers seem to be buying less with each visit, more frequent visits means additional opportunities for retailers to engage with their customers.
More convenient eating habits are also on the rise, and retailers can take advantage of these sale opportunities by providing quicker eating solutions. Thomas adds: “In the last year, we’ve noticed a few consumer trends in regards to products too. Ready meals are increasingly popular.
“People can grab a freshly made cottage pie or lasagne in the afternoon and throw it in the oven for dinner that night without having to prep it or cook it from scratch themselves. I think it’s the balance between quality food and convenience that really attracts people to the range.”
For Thomas, it isn’t just their extensive food range that is drawing customers to the store, but also the quality of fuel they have on offer.
As a company with over 25 years of experience, Solo Petroleum has invested heavily in building a brand that has a reputation for the highest standards in both product quality and supply. With a combined offering of convenience shopping, the franchise model is geared for rapid expansion to meet the ever increasing demand of modern consumers.
Following 10 successful years of the commercial brand this year, Solo have gone from strength to strength. For Thomas, choosing a fuel partner with such a prosperous reputation was a decision he is glad to have made.
“Solo were a relatively new fuel company when we partnered with them. The terms of their fuel delivery service compared to other companies we looked at where more appealing to us.
“The partnership seems to have worked out well for both of us. Due to the quality of the product, fuel sales have risen since we partnered with Solo.”
It’s onwards and upwards for the busy shop as they enjoy the benefits of their new extension.
“We have lots of ideas and hopes for the future, but we just finished a 700 sq. foot extension a few months ago, so we’re settling into that.”
With a packed-out fresh food store, and a thriving fuel partner, the future looks bright for the Bush Service Station.