Murphy’s Centra Greenbank – fuelling the community for generations
Established in the late 1980s, Murphy’s service station at Greenbank in Newry has been centred on one of the city’s main arterial routes, fuelling the local area for decades. This year they completed a £650,000 revamp, as Niamh Browne tells NR.
A stalwart of the grocery industry in Newry, Murphy’s Greenbank has been serving the local community and further afield for almost 35 years.
Having enjoyed a long tenure at the helm, founders Seamus and Madeleine Murphy led the shop and forecourt business for over 20 years before leasing to Musgrave, when they joined the symbol group’s Centra family.
Formerly a greenfield site, Seamus and Madeleine built and opened a 2500 sq ft shop and forecourt in 1988-1989; carrying out various renovations over the years, at one point they added a 500 sq ft extension.
In July 2021, their son Declan and daughter Niamh came on board and they recently oversaw a £650,000 revamp of the shop, modernising and growing the store.
Making significant changes to the store, they have created a more seamless and modern shopping environment for their customers.
“We have had a lot of local people returning to the shop as they see we have increased our offering and offers available and they see that we’ve invested in our store, so this has brought a lot of repeat custom,” said Niamh.
Situated at Greenbank, close to the industrial estate and the main Newry to Warrenpoint dual carriageway, Murphy’s Centra is ideally located to cater for an impressive passing trade, with breakfast and lunchtime trade a key area for them.
As part of that, within their recent revamp, they carried out significant work to their deli section, moving its position within the store and entirely new deli equipment installed. This has allowed the store to increase their offering and introduce many new lines.
A new Frank and Honest Coffee dock offers shoppers a greater selection of hot drinks to takeaway and has an environmental pledge at its core, featuring 100% compostable coffee cups, plastic-free coffee capsules and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee beans.
Shoppers can also benefit from the digital loyalty app, which offers a free coffee after earning 10 digital stamps.
As part of the extensive renovations of the store, all-new refrigeration was brought in, with a whole new chilled section introduced, allowing them to increase the range offered in the store. Additionally, they have increased the range of other products available, including a bakery section.
“We have been able to increase our Musgrave offerings as well and we’ve introduced the Moo’d ice cream bar,” said Niamh.
Along with new flooring and new LED lighting, the store has introduced more innovative and modern technology, with new tills, two self-serve checkouts and digital screens behind the counters increasing both the experience and convenience for all their customers.
These advancements also assist the flow of traffic in-store and creates efficiencies among employees.
In addition to lighting and refrigeration, the new store aligns with Musgrave Group’s sustainability goals, featuring Electronic Shelf Edge Labelling (ESELs) to reduce the store’s energy consumption and carbon footprint. In 2022, Musgrave Group announced its target of reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2040 and has committed a £3.6 million fund to support retailers to upgrade their stores to achieve this goal.
With work beginning in January of this year, Niamh said they were delighted the scheme went to plan overall, allowing them to complete ahead of their official relaunch date in May.
“Of course, the shop was open throughout the works, which was intense at the time, but when it’s complete and you look back at what you have achieved, you appreciate what you went through to get to this stage,” said Niamh.
“We have had a very positive response from our customers,” she added. “The renovations were needed and have made a huge difference to the store.”
Their hot and cold food deli counter is one of their key profit centres, with sandwiches, salads and hot foods all available, while Niamh said the new Frank and Honest Coffee dock has also been an attractive draw for consumers.
“We also sell a lot of confectionery goods and our food to go is a big success for us. Since we relaunched, we have seen an encouraging uptake in the grocery offering too, with people browsing more.
“Impulse buys and our epic deals are also great, and we have been developing our social media, so customers are aware of our services and deals.
“The growth of the store and our facilities has meant we have been able to increase our staffing levels too and we now employ 30 staff here. Once staff are brought on, we bring them in for training for a few days before they start.
“Musgrave also have their online Learning Academy, which allows us to encourage staff to get and update their training when they can. We update staff training regularly, and it’s something we’re actually doing at the minute.
A COMMUNITY STORE
While a mainstay of the city, Murphy’s Centra is first and foremost a community store, working to enhance and support the local area where it can, including fundraising for charity.
“We had the Action Cancer Big Bus at the store for a day recently and it was fully booked. We also organised a fundraising event ourselves to be held on the same day, when we held a spinathon,” said Niamh.
“All the staff got involved and took shifts in the spinathon. It was a great event and raised £1000.”
On the day of their relaunch, they also invited Damien Hillen from the Southern Area Hospice, based in Newry, to the store and presented him with a donation of £1000.
“Customer satisfaction is something we like to focus on and it is very rewarding to see people come into the shop and seeing what we have done to the store and being able to provide that customer satisfaction, it’s showing that what we have done here is paying off.
“A big part of it is chatting to customers and building on those relationships, being a friendly and welcoming store for everyone.”
TO VIEW THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH MURPHY’S CENTRA GREENBANK IN THE AUGUST-SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF NEIGHBOURHOOD RETAILER, CLICK HERE