CRA 2018 winner Paul Gardner is set to buy his second Budgens store, in East Finchley, London.

Paul is due to complete the acquisition of Budgens of East Finchley – a 5,500sq ft site - on 6 August and open for business the following day.

“It’s my ideal store and one I’ve wanted for years. It’s so unloved yet it’s taking good money – about £130,000 per week. I want to turn it into an award-winning store,” he told C-Store. “There were lots of rumours about the store going to the Co-op Group or Sainsbury’s, so now we can provide the staff with certainty.”

Paul was crowned Convenience Retailer of the Year at the 2018 Convenience Retail Awards for the Budgens of Islington site, also in North London. He said he aimed to introduce elements of the store, which features a number of in-store concessions, to Budgens of East Finchley.

“We’re already in talks with Cook, and our in-store Islington butcher will supply some of the meat alongside Booker’s Farm Fresh. We’re hoping for Maido Sushi at some point in the future, but my Islington concession will deliver to the store to start with,” he said.

“We’re also keeping some of the existing local suppliers, such as a watermelon supplier, which is something we don’t currently do.”

However, the objective in the first week was to make the store fit for purpose, Paul said. “Less than 50% of the lighting is working, there are holes in the ceiling and it hasn’t had a lick of paint for 10 years.”