Last month, C-Store and Britvic headed to Isleworth in Hounslow, London, to give the Transform Your Patch competition winners, Best-One Isleworth owners Chan and Alkesh Gadher, a hand with their community project and to see how they had used the £1,000 prize money they received.
We met Chan and crèche owners Jayne Fanning and Tanya Southall at the Kidzone crèche. “Some 95% of the mums and children who go to Kidzone are customers of ours,” explained Chan. “We often chat to them when they come in the store, so we knew the difficulties the crèche was facing and that it was in need of our help. With the current economic situation, the crèche provides a welcoming environment where mums and childminders can go to socialise, so it has a really important role to play and we were keen to support it.”
“This is one of the only crèches in the area that is open in the mornings - when younger children are awake - so it is really important to Mums with little ones, as well as older children. It’s great to see them enjoying all the new toys” - Janine Harwood, sales assistant
“The work we have done so far with the creche has been really good, and we want to continue helping. Going forward, we are going to give Kidzone more exposure on our community notice board in order to raise awareness among local Mums, so that more people can benefit from its services” - Alkesh Gadher, store owner
Chan and Alkesh have an action plan to help Kidzone, and winning the competition has given the project a huge boost. One of the key problems was that the crèche didn’t have an outdoor play area and that business suffered as a result in the warmer summer months. Another issue was that, due to frequent use, much of the play equipment was showing signs of wear and tear. Chan and Alkesh decided to invest in collapsible fencing, which would allow the children to play outside in the summer, and bought a baby gate, a generator for a bouncy castle, and new play equipment.
“For local retailers to support nearby businesses is really worthwhile. Chan and Alkesh have built up a real community spirit. It’s not just helping the crèche, it’s also helped to build their business and gain respect from customers” - Cled Exon, customer development executive at Britvic
“If it wasn’t for Best-One we wouldn’t have any business in the summer months. People don’t want to come here in the warm weather - they want to be outside - so having the fencing will make a real difference. It will give us a kickstart next summer and give the mums and children an opportunity to play outside” - Tanya Southall, co-owner of the crèche
On their visit Cled Exon, customer development executive at Britvic, and C-Store’s key account manager Dominic Sabine rolled up their sleeves and got to work, helping to set up the equipment. As the weather had turned colder, it was a little too chilly for the kids to play outside, but there was plenty to keep them busy indoors including a new play garage, kitchen, space hoppers, shopping trolley, and a rocker, to name but a few.
“It’s lovely to see where Transform Your Patch has benefitted communities,” said Exon. “This is the kind of project that will make a difference for years to come.”
And the story doesn’t end there. Over the coming weeks, Best-One will replace the crèche’s signage, and store staff will clear up debris in the car park area and paint the external walls.
“Alkesh is going to sort out getting the area cleaned up and help keep it that way,” added crèche co-owner Tanya Southall. “We’re really grateful to have his and Chan’s support. We’ll definitely expect to get more business now that we’ve got such a wide variety of good quality toys.”
“Customers have told us how great it is that we have invested in play equipment for Kidzone, so we are grateful to Britvic for the chance to help. Local stores need to work with community groups to engage with their surroundings and keep their businesses going” - Chan Gadher, owner, Best-One Isleworth
“I shop at Best-One Isleworth every day and Alkesh always takes an interest in what people are doing and how things are going. He’s always offering to help us. He has donated Play Doh to the crèche in the past and lets us advertise the crèche in-store free of charge” - Jayne Fanning, co-owner of the crèche
A transformation triumph
Since the project launched in February, convenience retailers across the country have been activating Britvic and PepsiCo’s Transform Your Patch campaign in their stores. More than 170,000 pieces of POS have been distributed, helping to drive awareness and boost sales of soft drinks.
Providing c-stores with a point of difference, Transform Your Patch - run in partnership with Groundwork - has enabled retailers to show their support for their local areas, demonstrating their community involvement and improving their relationship with customers.
Including some of the UK’s biggest soft drink brands such as Pepsi (5-a-side football pitches), Robinsons (playgrounds), Mountain Dew (skateparks) and Juicy Drench (communal parks and picnic areas), every bottle purchased has represented a real 1cm² piece of land that has been transformed. With over 100 sites across the UK being regenerated, transformations included Peckham Town Football Club, which has had its 5-a-side pitches transformed by football pundit Robbie Savage, and an area of open land in Ovington which has been transformed into a play area with the assistance of TV presenter Emma Willis.
A lasting legacy
Simon Litherland, GB managing director at Britvic, says: “We knew 2012 would be an important year for retailers and with so much going on we wanted to tap into the community spirit sweeping the nation. We’re delighted that the Transform Your Patch campaign has been such a success and that our partnership with C-Store has helped us reward retailers carrying out their own community work. Transform Your Patch has not only helped to boost sales of soft drinks, but has left a lasting legacy that communities will remember and enjoy for years to come.”