This retailer started out by saying: “No attribution please, don’t want to annoy my neighbour!”
He wished to point out that “Booker swapping horses is not a new thing” in response to stories I had recently run about small fry being ousted in favour of better-prospect stores.
About four years ago, after trading exclusively with Booker for more than 10 years, they had been accepted to convert to Premier and the refurb plans were all in place and scheduled for Easter.
“In late January, a sheepish Booker rep called in to say that they couldn’t now proceed. A local newsagent about 50 yards away had changed hands, and the new owners planned to redevelop it as a convenience store. The new owner had a number of other stores with Booker, and it had been decreed that we would be the loser.”
But it turned out well. He adds: “Long story short, we swapped to Best-one and our sales and profits are now virtually double what they were four years ago - and we find that Best-one’s promos better suit our customers and demographics than the previous Booker ones.
“We don’t quite qualify for a Best-one fascia yet, but we are finding that retaining our independence has become a core plus - we are not just another anonymous branded fascia. Customers really appreciate our locally-sourced special cheeses, butter, hot food and wine.”
He concludes: “The real irony is that, having given us the bum’s rush, the new Premier failed to thrive and the owner has put it on the market! As one door closes…”