Scotmid Co-operative is helping consumers worship at the altar of retail with its store in Torphins, on the outskirts of Aberdeen. When the opportunity arose to turn a church building into a shop and move its existing village store, the group jumped at the chance. It was a million-pound, four-month project to make the transformation, but residents believe it has been worth it
The Scotmid team wanted to retain design elements of the existing church, resulting in a bright and open 2,226sq ft store with lots of natural light, especially when the sun shines through the replica stained glass windows.
The chilled wine display resides where the altar once stood. The chillers had to be specially designed to fit the space in order to maximise the amount of stock they could offer without spoiling the look of the store, or having dead space behind them.
The church’s entrance was kept to its original style and the space has been put to good use by installing an ATM, community noticeboard and fresh flower display to create a splash of colour for customers as they enter the store.
The local Post Office closed recently and Scotmid saw the opportunity to bring it into its store through a separate till at the counter. This has gone down well with customers who would have been forced to travel four miles to the next village for their Post Office needs. It’s providing additional services such as these that has helped grow the store’s weekly turnover to £32,000.
The great bake-off
With a local bakery closing down, Scotmid moved quickly to include an in-house offering. The store also gets supplies from another local bakery for its sweet snacks range, ensuring that customers can get all of their baked goods under one roof.
Due to the floor being unable to support heavy weights, parts of it had to be reinforced and chillers containing fresh produce, soft drinks and alcohol line the perimeter.
Fresh fruit and vegetables have become a priority for Scotmid, with store managers given hefty targets to meet. Store manager Stef Sasella ensures that the fresh display always looks its best and is fully stocked.
The group installed chiller doors to save energy costs and prevent the store from being too cold for customers and staff. Scotmid studied various types and eventually settled on those that didn’t swing back into place and had small gaps at the hinges to prevent fingers being trapped.
Room to move
The Scotmid team wanted to improve the customer experience at Torphins so aisles are wide enough for a buggy or pushchair. With a family and elderly shopper base, this has proved a welcome move.
Despite Scotmid’s aim to cut back on space dedicated to frozen foods across its estate, the large number of elderly and families that shop at Torphins means a moderate range is kept to meet their needs.