A new Nisa Local store opened recently in Menston near Bradford is already proving to be an instant hit with the locals who played an instrumental role in the store being reopened in time for Christmas.
The former Co-op site had remained empty for two years before a local petition caught the attention of Nisa retailer Neil Patel who has links to the local area.
Neil, with the backing of the local parish council, took on the store in recent months and the reopening in early December has been the talk of the village.
The store has a tailored range to support the local community whilst an extensive number of chilled SKUs provide customers with a wide range of everyday products. Neil has also brought in additional ranges such as zero waste, food-to-go and partnered with Cook to provide high quality frozen ready meals.
“I saw that there was a real opportunity with this store given the local demographic and the distance to the nearest store for the local people. I knew there had been petitions by the local people for the store to reopen for about two-and-a-half years, so I knew there was a real determination for the store to be a success,” Neil said.
“I’ve had a lot of support from the parish council for the last six to nine months and they were keen to support as much as possible. They were desperate to get the store open at any cost which gives you confidence as a retailer as you know you’ve got the local support even before the doors open.
“The response by the local people and shoppers in the area has been amazing. I expected a decent response given the determination to get a store open, but it really has surpassed my expectations.
“Everyone has been delighted by the quality of products and Co-op own brand range we supply, alongside an adaptive range to suit our customer base.
“Our concentration has been on fresh and gourmet products. In comparison to my other stores, there are probably 200 additional SKUs in chilled to allow us to extend the range and provide a larger store feel rather than a smaller independent retailer. Shoppers are coming in and purchasing their weekly shopping and have the confidence we can cater for their needs which is really pleasing.”
Neil now operates six stores with Nisa with sites in the Northwest but says his new Menston store is far from a copy and paste job.
“I adapted the store plan and layout to complement the shopper mission and match it to this area and that’s been hugely successful so far,” he added.
“Nisa’s USP is allowing retailers to be expressive with their stores and putting their own stamp on it. I don’t think there’s another symbol group out there which offers both the chilled range and the adaptability to bring your own vision to life.
“It’s very difficult to stand out as an independent store so being with Nisa suits me and suits the way I operate. It allows that flexibility and allows me to run my store independently whilst also knowing I have that support when I may need it.”
Neil also praised the support he’d received from Nisa and the local community throughout the process.
“After the store fit, we were open in a matter of days and that wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of Tony (Pickford), Graeme (Jackson) and Mark (Winfield) from Nisa. Tony has been at the store 12 hours a day sometimes, chipping in and helping with whatever we needed – even the cleaning! The support has been phenomenal to get the store up and running and they brought an awful lot of ideas to the table,” he said.
“Again, the great thing about Nisa is they offer those ideas up, but they are also open to doing things differently if it suits you as an independent. I’ve got several stores now with Nisa and we’ve got a well-established relationship. They know the level of support I might require but we have an established trust there to go about our business as usual.
“I couldn’t speak highly enough of the efforts everyone has made. From the community, to Nisa, to my own team – everyone has made sure this store opens and it’s been overwhelmingly successful so far.”
Tony Pickford, retail development manager at Nisa, said: “The store is fantastic and is quickly becoming a real community asset. Neil knew exactly the direction he wanted for this store and the final version has been well worth the effort. It’s great to see the positive reaction the community have had towards the store and I’m sure it will be a huge success.”