The award winning Spar Y Maes convenience store in Pwllheli, is a true family business. Now run by Conrad Davies, the store was opened more than 50 years ago by his grandfather, then run by his father until in 2007 Conrad took over the reins.
Located on the high street, the business continues to thrive despite competition from the likes of Iceland, Asda and Lidl.
Other convenience stores in the area have not fared so well, with several closing over the past few years.
We spoke to store manager Jimmy Roberts to understand what makes Spar Y Maes such a great success.
“Of course, being a local family run business does differentiate us from the large retail brands surrounding us,” says Jimmy. “But, our success comes from really understanding our customers’ needs and offering them something different from the norm.
“We have worked hard to offer a wide range of local produce, and now stock products from more than 70 local suppliers. Providing choice is also key so alongside Spar own label products, we also stock alternative artisan and mainstream brands.”
The store has a diverse customer base, from the more traditional local customers who pop-in almost daily for a few basic items, to those seeking a main shop top-up, to summer tourists and a growing food to go seeker.
On the second floor of the store, a 45-seated Subway, was introduced in 2013 which complements shoppers’ desire for instant food and beverage.
With an Iceland, literally next door, the convenience store, doesn’t waste a lot of time and energy trying to compete with their frozen offer but seeks to find other ways to make the store stand out.
“Recognising and responding to changing shopping trends is vital to our continued long term success,” continues Jimmy. “We are about to undergo a major refurbishment which will give us the right space to stock more fresh and chilled produce, the demand for which is every increasing, particularly from our younger shoppers.
“The refurbishment will also include a new hot food to go counter, which continues our aim to offer customers something a bit different.”
Jimmy is quick to point out that it doesn’t matter how good the retail proposition is if the atmosphere isn’t right.
“We have a fabulous team, all who are passionate about providing customers with a first class knowledgeable service. It’s testament to them that we see customers returning, again and again and again.”
As a wholesaler to convenience stores, farm shops, delis and fine food specialist, Cotswold Fayre can provide you with products that help differentiate from other retailers.