The owner of the Off Licence News 2007 Convenience Store of the Year says the FWD Take Home Blueprint helped him achieve his victory in what the industry recognises as the top off licence retailing competition in the marketplace.
Mark Johnson, of Celebrations off licence in Offerton, Stockport, first enlisted help from the Blueprint when he opened the shop in 2005. Having worked previously as a sales representative for a major drinks company, Mark knew the industry well and knew that the Take Home Blueprint was the boost he needed to make sure his store got off to a flying start.
“Having seen the market from both sides as a supplier and retailer, I knew exactly what things I needed to do to help my business. With the free industry-best advice that is available for independent retailers through initiatives like the Take Home Blueprint, it made me realise that this was an area that I could succeed in and that there was support available if I needed it,” explained Mark.
With the proven results that the Blueprint initially achieved for Celebrations, Mark next looked to the other initiatives that the Blueprint had to offer, including installing wine wheels, making his spirits section self-select with the aid of the PLOD security caps and also put on wine tastings to promote his range to his local customers.
In little over a year, Mark had transformed the run-down shop into a booming Features > Business, selling a unique combination of gifts, flowers and a full and comprehensive off licence. The shop has gone from strength to strength, so much so that the business outgrew its 540sq ft premises and in November last year he embarked on an major extension which extended his entire shop space to 1,620sq ft to give him and his team the space to meet the rapidly growing customer base.
He continued: “Without the help from the Blueprint team, I don’t think we would have reached this position so soon. The expansion has allowed me to capitalise on the excellent advice that Ross Shelley and his team at the Blueprint has given me over the years. For example, he has always stressed to me the importance of offering chilled alcohol, and with our new space we have been able to invest in double door chillers for both wines and beers, which we have merchandised according to the Blueprint planograms.
“Before opening this shop I knew that I needed to be innovative and have a unique selling point to make my store a success and stand out from the competition, which the Blueprint has helped me to achieve, and hopefully this has been recognised through this award.”
l For more contact the Blueprint Helpline on 0161 440 2770