Suci and Aruna Sucindran own and operate Yarl Petroleum Ltd, known as Bishops Rise Service Station, a 3.9m litre modern freehold site situated in Hatfield, Herts.
It recently rebranded to Gulf, the first of a number of important steps the couple are taking as they look to the future. Formerly a flagship forecourt for Harvest, the move to Gulf and supplier Certas Energy has resulted in unleaded and diesel volumes both rising by around 1,000 litres a day. The site now benefits from a more competitive pricing structure and a renowned fuel brand.
“Moving to the Gulf brand is part of our evolution,” explains Suci, who has over 30 years of experience in petrol retailing behind him. “You can never stand still in this business and we are always looking at ways to maintain our appeal and grow.”
It’s still early days since the brand change but volumes at Bishops Rise are already up by over 10% and Suci is participating in his first national forecourt promotion with Gulf.
“It’s a very positive step by Certas Energy to create a series of low cost fuel promotions,” continues Suci. “It helps to drive new business to Gulf dealers and is a conversation starter for our staff when they engage with customers. Our staff are fully behind our involvement.”
During 2016, Suci plans to invest in a new rollover car wash and revitalise the look and feel of the shop, inside and out. The shop is now his priority and although he is reluctant to set targets, he remains optimistic that once completed, revenues will increase. The 2,000 sq ft Mace-branded shop currently generates a weekly turnover of £40k including paypoint. It offers a full convenience range with newspapers and magazines, an ATM and 24 hour off licence. Bishops Rise is well known for its extensive range of soft drinks, snacks and sandwiches and Suci has explored the possibility of adding a Subway franchise, but is wavering.
“I can see the strength of the Subway offering but I’m struggling with the notion that our operational control of the business may be diminished. What impact will that have on other revenue streams? In the past we have had plenty of opportunities to introduce hand car washing to site but I’ve always chosen to stay loyal to our own rollover for much the same reason.”
Suci and Aruna are proud of the business they have developed over decades and the standing of Bishops Rise Service Station within the local community. They recognise the importance of their staff to its operational success and the role each team member plays.
“Strong working relationships, whether with colleagues or suppliers, are the backbone of any business and trust and loyalty have always been important values in my life,” enthuses Suci. “It’s also how I judge and reward others and it certainly influenced my decision to rebrand to Gulf.”
“We had a number of similarly attractive oil company offers but only the Gulf brand could guarantee us Steve Caley, the Certas Energy Area Manager who we have known, respected and maintained a friendship with for over 20 years. We may have all aged in that time but our values have never changed and I know he is a man of his word and can trust him to fight our corner. For any independent petrol retailer, having that level of support and experience is worth a great deal.”