Across the UK convenience store owners’ meticulous Olympic preparations ensured that games trading got off to an electric start.
Virinder Pathak spent two exhausting days prior to the opening ceremony ensuring that his Hampton Court Superstore in Surrey was in peak condition for the Olympic cycling race.
“The run up to the start was exhausting,” Virinder said. “The roads were closed to traffic all weekend meaning that on the Friday we had to receive all of our deliveries and I made numerous trips to the cash and carry to stock up on cold drinks and ice creams for spectators but also essentials such as bread and milk for the local people who were unable to drive anywhere else. It was all well worth the effort though as the weekend’s trading was even better than expected. On Saturday our sales were more than three times higher than normal, but the best thing about it was the great sense of fun and community spirit.”
In Bow, London, Paresh Patel of Cockburn Convenience ensured that he had a healthy mix of promotional goods to help local people celebrate. “The night of the Olympic opening ceremony was fantastic. We were stocked up to the rafters with promotional items and we were rushed off our feet by local people coming in for drinks and snacks for their own Olympic parties. We normally shut at 7.30pm but because it was so busy we kept trading until 9pm.”
And just a few miles from the Olympic rowing venue, independent retailer and chairman of the Eton Traders Association Amanda Bishop also said the warmer weather and influx of tourists had boosted sales for the town’s independent retailers. “The challenge is managing the flow of custom. Races start at 9.30am and finish around 1pm meaning that stores are very busy first thing in the morning and early afternoon. We were prepared for that though so it’s all working very well,” she told Convenience Store.
And despite hundreds of miles of road closures and traffic restrictions, deliveries to stores also appear to be working well. Allied Bakeries, which has a bakery just one mile from the Olympic Park, has instigated night-time deliveries to ensure that bread is delivered on time.