Making the very best use of limited space has helped Kenninghall Post Office and Premier convenience store in Norfolk reach the finals of the Convenience Retail Awards in two categories; Best Small Store and Off Licence Store of the Year.
Owners Mark and Karen Humphreys took on this village Post Office and convenience store in South Norfolk in 2011. They had an initial refit and broadened the product ranges after a customer survey.
They planned for many other improvements, but waited, as they’d also decided to take on nearby Dickleburgh Post Office and convenience store, which required a major refit. In 2017 these efforts were rewarded when the Humphreys’ Dickleburgh store was the national winner of the Most Improved store category in the Retail Industry Awards.
Space to chill
This spurred them on to make further improvements at their Kenninghall store. They carried out another survey, revealing that their customers wanted a wider range of fresh food and alcohol.
The Post Office counter was relocated next to the retail counter, freeing up space. A big outlay was changing all the refrigeration to new, compact, environmentally-friendly units which use less power, while giving 40% more refrigeration space than they had before. These changes gave them the room to greatly extend their food lines, with more food-to-go ranges and high quality, nutritious meals.
Healthy food doubles sales
Mike Humphreys said: “These high quality meals have proved very popular with villagers who live busy lives and have not got time for a variety of reasons to make home prepared meals, or the elderly who want to have a good, healthy meal without having to prepare food. Sales of our food-to-go have increased by 100 per cent. Customers are very happy.”
There is also a much wider range of fresh fruit and vegetables so customers can make healthy purchases without having to travel to larger supermarkets.
The off license section has been greatly improved and to cater to the current popularity of gin, the store now stocks 110 varieties, including 10 different types of locally-sourced Norfolk gin.
Social media brings customers in store
To tell the community about the changes and the deals available, Mike Humphreys started a Facebook page. In no time at all it had 500 likes and it encourages people to visit the store.
Mike’s top tips
- Choice - give the customer what they want
- Price - be competitive, not always the cheapest
- Service - most importantly, great service means people will return and tell their friends
The finalists of the Convenience Retail Awards have been invited to an awards ceremony and dinner in London in mid-March. Good luck!