Jempson’s Local in Northiam, East Sussex, is the first convenience store to be opened by the Jempson family, who operate independent superstores in the region around Rye, as well as six cafés and a petrol station. While the supermarkets continue to be successful (the group serves 150,000 customers a week), a move into c-stores was a major strategic step and the Northiam site, a former car showroom, opened in March 2014 and has a trading area of just 1,100sq ft. Directors Stephen and Andrew Jempson and store manager Claire Evershed showed C-Store around the shop which was a finalist in the Best Small Store category in CRA 2015, as well as winning the Best Communication to Shoppers category award.
Winner - Best Communication to Shoppers
Jempson’s Northiam impressed the judges with its unique and distinctive point-of-sale and department labelling signage, highlighting the excellent product range, key special offers and also the provenance of its fresh and local food offer.
In addition, the customer leaflets are beautifully designed, combining both community activity and relevant special offers, and all backed up by personal touches from the store management team.
Fresh food is at the heart of the store’s offer with this attractive display of fruit, vegetables and plants greeting customers as they enter the store.
Jempson’s bakes bread and cakes from scratch and supplies all the company’s stores and cafés. Celebration cakes can also be prepared to order at any of Jempson’s stores.
The company prepares its own meat at its Peasmarsh superstore and provides bespoke and local quality lines to Northiam. All fresh food is delivered to the smaller store from Peasmarsh six mornings a week (the store is closed on Sundays).
Loose veg is available in wooden crates alongside convenience chilled foods such as quiches and fresh soups.
Jempson’s uses a local design agency to bring its point-of-sale material and department labelling to life. Many of the offers are highlighted from the current Nisa promotional schedule, although the company also negotiates its own deals.
The current directors are the third generation of the Jempson family to be in retail. The company’s first store opened in Peasmarsh in 1935.
The design theme is carried through to customer leaflets for the surrounding area, like this one prepared for last year’s store opening.
Space is flexed within the small store for categories with particular local appeal, such as this substantial home baking fixture.
The fresh meat offer drives sales in other categories, particularly alcohol, as local customers look for meal solutions and fine dining at home.
Room is found for local and niche premium produce in corner units and on the higher shelves. On the day C-Store visited, national milk was available at 89p for four pints, while local milk was £1.89, and both were selling well.
Some local lines, such as chutneys and sweets, are sold under the GT Jempson own-brand. Products retail at the same price in any store in the group.
Jempson’s own brand coffee machine sits proudly inside the door. The next phase of development for the store includes an expansion of the food-to-go range.
A post office local counter provides essential services for the small community of Northiam, as well as being a valuable footfall driver for the store.