Nisa store sets focus on fresh produce & food-to-go

A desire to focus on fresh produce and food-to-go prompted a north-east independent retailer to refresh his Nisa store enabling him to set his business up for the future.

Miv Chahal, a Nisa retailer for more than a decade, has re-invented his small convenience store in Prudhoe as the go-to destination for locals looking for meal solutions for tonight and grab-and-go products.

A new chiller for lunch time meal deals, a chiller for beers and wines and a much improved food-to-go offering comprising a Skwishee machine, Rustlers microwave and a new coffee machine has given the 1,700 sq ft store a boost that is attracting new shoppers, as well as existing ones.

And the development of the store was finished in the nick of time, ahead of the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, which has seen footfall increase dramatically and shoppers increasingly grateful for the expanded range on offer locally.

Chahal said, “We invested in a new snacking chiller to give us more space in the fresh produce chiller to stock more groceries. We have added in a lot more vegetables, meat and cheeses, working with Nisa’s Fresh Food Development Manager to expand the range and make it work for our shoppers.”

New vinyl signage inside the store has helped to provide a contemporary look and a general tidy up of the interior has made it much more shoppable and easier for customers to navigate with both regular and new shoppers complimenting the store.

“We had some very positive feedback from customers who said a lot of really great things about the store and our first two weeks since the re-fit was completed were our busiest two weeks of the year so far,” said Chahal.

The store was re-merchandised as part of the overhaul, encouraging shoppers to build their baskets, with changes such as relocating pasta and sauces close to fresh meats. And the alterations are leading to results with average basket spend up since the work was completed and customers adding more lines to their shop as well as looking out for offers in store in a way they didn’t previously do.

A delivery service is now also available to elderly and vulnerable shoppers in response to customer need in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, further cementing the store into the heart of the community.

In a recent note of thanks, a shopper lavished the store with praise and said: “What a fantastic local store. Despite putting yourselves at risk you are providing a friendly, efficient and reassuring service. We would like to thank all the staff for their much-appreciated and valued support.”

Chahal said, “It is always great to receive praise, but this is not why we do it. We just serve the community that serves us.”

He added, “We are not a supermarket, but I want to make sure we’re recognised as a convenience store and one that does it well. I don’t expect people to come in and do their big shop with us, but I hope we will be their first stop if they want something urgently or quickly.”

And over recent weeks, the store is certainly meeting the demands of the local community, in a way never anticipated when the re-fit was first planned.