Veteran offie retailing couple opens first c-store

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Nisa Local in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria

Kaz and Paul Stephenson, who have operated multiple Bargain Booze stores across the north of England for more than 20 years, took the plunge into convenience retail, launching a 2,200 sq.ft. Nisa Local in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

The retailer couple has given a new lease of life to a former Co-op store that stood empty for more than six months, opening the store at the end of September after a full refit.

Now adorning Nisa’s latest Evolution format, the store has almost 20m of food chillers and a further 9m for chilled off licence.

Food and drinks to go include Costa Express, Skwishee, Country Choice bake off and F’Real to follow as well as a prominent Co-op meal deal offer.

Nisa Local in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria

And in addition to two self-scan tills, there is a two-position counter with a Glory till and payment system installed, meaning store staff don’t handle any cash as shoppers feed their payment directly into the front facing units.

Kaz said when the store became available, they were keen to try their hand at a full convenience offer and chose to work with Nisa for the high quality fresh and chilled range they wanted for their shoppers.

“We knew the look that we wanted and had the vision in our heads, it was a case of working with our store development manager to get it right. We’re really pleased with it and shoppers have been coming in and absolutely love it,” she said.

Local suppliers are another key feature with Lakes ice cream and a freshly made authentic Thai meal offer alongside a locally produced toffee vodka.

Nisa Local in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria

“Our aim is to make much more of the local suppliers and increase the amount of locally sourced products in the store to encourage our customers to shop and support local business,” said Kaz.

Meanwhile, existing Co-op shoppers have returned to the store, looking for favourite own-brand items they previously bought.

“The Co-op range works really well for us. Customers know and like the products and lots of people are coming in for the things they used to buy before the store closed,” she added.

“It will take a bit of time and a few tweaks to get everything in and find out what everyone wants but it has been a great start and we are really happy with the response so far.”