Westways rocketing to new heights

Westways rocketing to new heights

All eyes may be on Newquay in Cornwall for the first ever satellite launch from UK soil but just minutes up the road is the recently redeveloped Westways Filling Station. This Gulf-branded forecourt may not soar as high as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit take-offs but it is reaching new heights in the retail experience it provides for customers with its very own space programme involving a 2000 sq. ft convenience store, large 32-nozzle forecourt and parking for over 20 cars.

Owners Nick and Sandra Lomax bought the site from Nick’s father in 2016 and thereafter accelerated the evolution of the family business into a thriving hub for the local community. Their ambitions are firmly focussed upon a one site operation that performs to its optimum. The combination of investment and resourcefulness is already reaping the benefits with fuel volumes on course for 4mlpa and shop revenues now £1.4 m and continuing to rise.  

“We built the volumes up from 1.8 to 2.7m litres and were able to grow the shop sales to around £1m a year but knew that we had reached the sites potential without a major financial investment,” explains Nick. “The investment was substantial and a 7-week closure gave us plenty of sleepless nights but overall the calculated gamble is starting to pay off. With strong support from Gulf Retail and SPAR we are achieving growth across the business.”

The redevelopment started in October 2021 and included a full forecourt re-build with new tanks and pipework, four new 8 nozzle pumps, new valet centre with 2 jet washes and a new raised canopy to attract more HGV’s. The SPAR convenience store includes new chillers, new refrigeration, commercial oven, hot and cold food to go, new shelving, lighting and displays. The site is located on the A 3059, the main route to Newquay, one of the UK’s fastest growing regional airports and property hotspots. Thousands of new homes are being built in the area along with new industries including the Virgin Orbit Space operation.

“Westways is a rural site serving many small communities as well as Newquay residents and a thriving tourist trade,” continues Nick. “Tourism bolsters our revenues significantly from April to October and the investment we have made, and will continue to make, is designed to increase our appeal to all passing trade. Alongside a much larger shop with many more lines and offers than before, we have introduced laundry facilities, two state-of-the -art jet washes, 4 fuel grades and ad blue. We plan to offer 24/7 pay at pump during the holiday season and as demand increases, introduce EV charging. Probably ahead of that we are looking to launch a sit-down café. My dad’s roots were in fish and chips and the site once had a fish and chip shop with seating for 55. That is part of our heritage and even now we are highly regarded for our hot food to go. That includes serving up more than 30,000 egg and bacon rolls since we re-opened!

“Everything we are doing is for the future of the business, our staff and our community. We had 6 staff before the redevelopment , we now have 15. Sandra manages this side of the business and is doing a fantastic job. She worked in the veterinary trade for more than 20 years in a very happy environment and her skills and influence are making our business a fun and enjoyable place to work and prosper. We are both naturally hands-on people although my role has completely changed since we re-opened with greater emphasis upon administration as I manage a growing and multifaceted business.”

Alongside the forecourt operation and convenience store, the 2 acre site includes garage and MOT test centre for both cars and  class 7 commercial vehicles, 3 residential flats and a car sales plot that is rented out.

“Our fuel supplier has been Gulf for the past 15 years and we have forged great relationships at all levels including the terminal and tanker fleet. Just as we consider SPAR to be a strong ally, Gulf Retail is integral to our future. The Gulf brand has strong representation throughout the South West with a good reputation and stunning new image; at night our canopy lights up like a beacon and can be seen for miles around. In addition, the Oomph loyalty scheme is playing a key role in increasing sales across every aspect of the business. We have always been a passionate independent and that is also the philosophy of Gulf whose every move is designed to reduce Dealer costs and drive up Dealer profits. We had strong offers from Shell, BP, Texaco and Esso but we trust Gulf and understand the financial significance of a flexible partner, particularly in areas such as pricing strategy and tailored loads.”

For a family business which has been around for 30 years, 2022 has seen a dramatic and positive transformation as Nick and Sandra Lomax future-proof for the next 30 years.