Another month has flown by. The huge steel beams are in place and the builders are making good progress. The electricity has also been upgraded. While these works go on in the background, fine-tuning the shop layout has been fun and frustrating in equal measure.

C-stores can range in size from 500sq ft all the way to 3,000sq ft. However, laying out a store still comes down to a few main factors which are often interlinked. Your location will invariably lead you to your target audience and this will then help set your range, and all of this is limited by space. If you add into the mix current market trends and a focus on localism, then trying to accommodate all these factors is a great challenge.

Inkberrow’s shop floor will be a touch under 1,000sq ft, so when I sat with the Simply Fresh team to discuss store layout, we knew we would be limited by space to implement all the ideas we had.  
We started with the core range, because at the end of the day, ideas and trends are only going to work if they complement a good core range.

Once that was sorted we could take a more detailed look at market trends. I recently saw a presentation by HIM which focused on exactly this. HIM explained that consumers want more than simple convenience; they are looking for meal solutions, food to go, and are very value conscious. They are also more influenced than ever by impulse products and offers.

Even though we have limited space, I believe it will be possible to achieve this and cover all bases. Therefore, the new store will have a coffee machine, complemented by daily deliveries from a local bakery providing pastries and savoury snacks for the consumer who may have missed breakfast. To enhance the core bread range, products from the local bakery will sit on a special stand in the middle of the store.

Furthermore, a low-level chiller will greet customers at the front of the store and offer a meal solution for lunch and dinner. 

Rather than clutter the till point, the new counter will also be designed with cut outs to allow a good space for impulse purchasing.

Freeing up space to meet the needs of the modern consumer has to be at the heart of a good convenience store, no matter what its size.