Moran’s Group, Derry~Londonderry
Like all Neighbourhood Retailer of the Year winners, the 2013 recipients run a well-established business that has been excelling in everything it does for many years – more than 25 years in fact.
Husband and wife team John and Donna Moran started out in the retail business in Derry~Londonderry in 1986.
After running a successful tyre and exhaust business – which included a forecourt – since the late 70s, John and Donna focused on retail and in the late nineties purchased an Esso forecourt which they redeveloped to add a store.
They then opened one of the first Centra stores in Northern Ireland.
Like any retail business, over the years it’s been a hard slog, many ups and downs, but John and Donna now preside over an innovative and exciting business that is setting standards in the local convenience retail sector.
“Our mantra is to have quality constantly and consistently. We try to make our stores destination shops by producing products in stores that are difficult to replicate – especially by the multiples.”
And they have done just that. Moran’s have become synonymous with forward-thinking retailing.
“All our stores are doing extremely well considering the current climate and they are going from strength to strength – I can certainly see recovery on the horizon,” said John.
“The traditional c-store business is what Musgrave look after very well so we have to bring in the new custom. We have focused on on our food offering and we call it ‘bringing good food home’. The idea is that we can give it to you hot or cold and you can heat it and eat it at home.”
John added: “We are creating different solutions for different meals times and this is what is successful for us – it gives us a point of difference.”
Doing things differently is what keeps any business ahead of the game and the food offering is providing plenty of opportunity for Moran’s Retail Group to experiment with.
“We started a Tex-Mex menu with burritos, nachos, etc and we are also appealing to health conscious customers with salads and low fat meals.”
Behind any successful business is a cohesive team of staff who are all striving for the same goal. Moran’s has invested a lot in its people and training which is a fundamental part of the business.
“The staff work with us to come up with many of the new ideas,” said John.
“We have a very good team of people around us. We firmly believe that without our staff we would be nothing. We invest time in them and appreciate them – training is a big part of the business and we have some of the best employees in the world.
“They are a crucial part of the business; in fact they are the business.”
The use of social media has been a fantastic way for Moran’s to reach a broad range of customers which has enhanced the business – improving turnover and increasing awareness.
Not content with a few sporadic posts on Facebook, John and Donna have approached the digtal media platform in a structured way and believe that this will bring much more business in the future.
“Developing our web presence and the use of social media has to be part of the daily operation now and we are 100 per cent committed to that,” enthused John.
“We are speaking to a younger demographic of customer and to do that you need to be at the forefront digital retail. If you get the right people on board it is amazing what you can achieve and it is really exciting where it’s going.”
John added: “In the next five years, it’s going to take over the business. We actually find that mobile media is where our business is going to benefit most so we are working towards that. We have a structured approach and we believe that this consistency online will pay dividends.”
All of these areas require investment and this is something that Moran’s has continued to do even during the difficult trading times.
Winning the Neighbourhood Retailer of the Year award has been well deserved and a huge boost for the team at Moran’s, not to mention the Neighbourhood Store of the Year (Cat 2) award for the Strand Road store and Best Off-Licence for the SuperValu store in Ballykelly.
“All these awards were a great boost for our team, the customers like to see their local store winning awards too, it gives them some pride in their local store.
John added: “As I have said, we are all about the people at Moran’s, the team won the awards and to be recognised by the industry is a fantastic achievement.”