C-Store catches up with a news retailing legend, Dave Carter of Shrewsbury

"I've been a news retailer for 26 years here in Shrewsbury, and we now have four stores on this side of the town. For me, home delivery is at the heart of the business and we've built it up so we now deliver 2,000 papers a day - 20 rounds out of each store, 25 to a bag.
"I've always used youngsters for the rounds, but I've been looking into getting some older people involved. I've been caught out before when a bug has gone around the local school and I've lost half my team.
"I employ a spare delivery person in each store, as there's always a chance someone won't make it in. If they all turn up, one lucky kid gets a paid day off. If there's still a shortfall, I'll make it up myself - out of loyalty to the customer,
I have to make sure they get their papers no matter what, even if it costs me money.
"We charge 12p a day for delivery. That may seem low to some retailers, but I put it up from 9p a few months ago and it's right for the area.
"Re-runs are the biggest problem - they throw the whole system out. If I have to let the paper boys go, delivery can turn into an all-day job for me. I do some of the runs myself anyway, like the local hospital and a public school, which are lucrative customers for us.
"I have a good relationship with Dawsons. Service is improving. I get on well with the staff there and always try to see things from their point of view, and they'll find me extra copies from time to time as a result.
"I have a policy for boxouts; we scan everything in and, if it's new, we'll put it on the shelves for a couple of issues. I also put new titles on the counter for an extra boost. Scanning everything as it arrives tells us if we've seen a title before and if it sold; if it's not new, or we've had it before and it didn't sell, it stays in the box and goes straight back.
"In the stores, I'll go out of my way to find the odd title for customers and cater to requests. Now we have a reputation for getting customers what they want. And, of course, news brings in the customers.
"News and mags contribute 25% of the business' turnover. I spend 30 hours a week on the category, as well as managing four stores, but it's well worth the struggle."