A Renaissance fuelled by Gulf Retail
High Bank Garage

A Renaissance fuelled by Gulf Retail

AJ Stevens and Sons is a family business that owns and operates High Bank Garage, and serves the Valley communities in and around the Blackwood area with fuel, vehicle repairs and MOTs.  Its forecourt, which for 13 years had remained unbranded, was transformed recently when the Stevens family tied with Gulf.

“It was a big decision to sign-up with one fuel supplier after so many years as an independent but it is proving to be a very good move,” explains Adrian Stevens who runs the business with his brother Howell.  “The Covid pandemic and the war in the Ukraine were the catalysts for a re-think and Gulf opened our eyes to the advantages of a partnership with them. Since the switch, our volumes have grown from 1.2ml to 1.6ml and our margins have almost doubled. We were always competitively priced; the difference now is that we are able to do so without eating into our margins. We trust Gulf, the relationship is strong, and they are always looking at ways to grow our revenues. The Gulf brand has credibility and our regular locals and daily commuters have welcomed the change, with the new image transforming the look and feel of our forecourt.”

Along with fuel supply security, Gulf also facilitated the introduction of the UK Fuels card and discussions are now underway to add the Gulf Account Card, recognising the growing number of hi-tech firms and light industry setting up in the area.

 In the hands of the same family since May 1959, High Bank Garage benefits from its busy B-road location and a staunchly loyal customer base that extends several generations. The garage is proud to be at the heart of its community and supports many worthy causes including the charitable work of the Rotary Club of Blackwood; Against Breast Cancer and the Friends of the New Breast Care Unit at the local hospital, Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr.

 “Over the years Blackwood has certainly been impacted by the closure of the coal mines, but in the past decade has once again become a thriving town with a growing population,” continues Adrian. “There is prosperity with the arrival of new businesses, the creation of a new state-of-the-art school campus and many new housing developments.  Our fuel sales are already up by over 30% and this is impacting on our shop even though we currently have just a basic offering, dominated by confectionary. With the support of our Area Manager Kayne Robertson and utilising Gulf’s retail expertise, we plan to take further advantage of this renaissance.”