Store: Simply Fresh
Location: Birmingham city centre
Budget: £100,000

Kash Khera and his team first took an interest in the premises in October last year and haven’t looked back since.

“We bought the premises at the start of November and spent three weeks planning its development,” he says. “Since it was a new building there was less that we had to do with it. We got a clear run at fitting it out and it took only three weeks to kit out in time for the January opening.”

Kash, his brother Sukhjit and a team of investors financed the development themselves and found that working with a new building rather than renovating an existing store was less stressful. “It’s 100 times easier working from scratch than on an old build,” says Kash. “You also don’t have to close the store and worry about losing any customers.”

He adds that cutting-edge technology was a must for the store. “There are savings to be had such as reconditioned chillers which are cheaper than new ones, but for this store we wanted everything to be top quality and ready in time for the opening.”

The team conducted a lot of local research to ensure they had the right offering for the 1,800sq ft store. “We spoke to students and lecturers from the nearby university. “We wanted to be a convenience store at heart, but with the range of a supermarket,” explains Kash. “There are no other stores nearby so people will be shopping here every day and it’s important that we have everything they might need.”

With plenty of building work going on in the area and the nearby university opening another wing, he is hopeful that it won’t take long to see a return on investment.

“We invested just over £100,000 in this store on the refit alone and we hope that it will have paid for itself within 14 months,” says Kash. “The store opened in early January and is already taking about £19,000 per week, which is ahead of what we projected for this stage.

“Given the amount of development that’s taking place in the area around the store, I can see the weekly turnover increasing to well over £30,000 within a matter of months.”

Wide aisles
Kash makes sure that customers don’t feel claustrophobic in the store by having two metre-wide aisles and lots of open space. “There’s plenty of space in the aisles which allows for browsing and impulse purchasing,” he explains. “We didn’t want the customers to feel rushed in the store. It’s designed to be a supermarket-style shopping experience with the heart of a convenience store.”

Snacks display unit
Wanting to satisfy all of the hungry students in the area, Kash installed a massive acrylic snacks display close to the counter that is easier to stock and stands out from the rest of the shelving.

Feature shelving
Kash decided to install black and wooden shelving in the alcohol section in order to distinguish it from other categories. “It helps the section stand out and gives the store a modern look in keeping with the regeneration of the area,” he says.

Wanting to make sure that both staff and customers feel safe in the store, Kash installed a CCTV security system worth £3,000 that includes 16 cameras and a huge LCD screen. “Customers see themselves on the screen so any potential thieves know they’re being watched.”

“One of our few concerns when designing the store was that we wanted to be sure that we had enough chillers,” he says. “We have 16 metres of food chillers and 10 metres of alcohol chillers, which cost £25,000. When fitting out a store, chillers will be the most expensive element so it’s vital to get it right.”