Awards delight for South Hams businessman

Thursday 3rd November 2016 9:44 am
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Julian Holliss with his forecourt retailer award and entertainer Brian Conley ()

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SOUTH Hams businessman Julian Holliss is celebrating after winning two major national trade awards in the space of a fortnight.

The accolades are a particularly impressive as they reflect his business success in taking on competition from multi national companies.

Julian, whose family-run business operates three garage Spar forecourt stores at Townstal Road, Dartmouth; California Cross, Modbury; and Totnes Cross, Halwell, won the Best Forecourt Retailer in the West Country and Wales region at the 2016 Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards held at the London Hilton Hotel. 

Two weeks later, he was back in London to see the Townstal Road store win the highly commended prize at the prestigious Retail Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

He said: ‘I’m delight­­ed with both awards. The forecourt trader awards are the pinnacle of recognition for the forecourt sector while the retail industry awards are the Oscars of the grocery industry. 

‘It is tough to get recognition against quality national competition, so we are very proud of these successes which underpin the hard work, dedication and focus from the whole Townstal Road team.’

Julian said over the years, the business has had to counter the opening nearby of both Lidl and Sainsbury’s stores, and most recently a petrol station forecourt at Sainsbury’s. During this period, Julian has reshaped the Townstal Road operation from a neighbourhood store to a transient and convenience outlet offering food-for-now solutions. 

He introduced the region’s first Subway franchise in both a forecourt and Spar location and was an early adopter of Costa Express. 

A Post Office Local counter was added following the closure of a nearby local post office and last year he was first Spar store in the region to introduce Cook Foods ready meals, as well majoring on healthy snacking solutions.

 ‘We have had to be very resilient in the face of some stiff local competition from multi-national companies and have kept reinvesting and reinventing what we do in order to stay in the game,’ said Julian.

‘The recognition in winning these national awards shows we have done just that and can look ahead optimistically, particularly as convenience retailing is forecast to continue to grow with the trend moving from trolley to more convenient and regular basket shopping.’

Mike Boardman, managing director of Appleby Westward, the regional distribution company for Spar stores in the south west, said: ‘Julian is a prominent and successful Spar retailer and was our retailer speaker at the Spar national convention earlier this year in San Diego. 

‘His awards recognise the focus he has placed on continually reinvesting and reinventing in the face of stiff competition at the Townstal Road site.’

 Julian is also well-known throughout the petroleum industry. He has been BP regional dealer chairman for the past decade and is also regional chairman of the wider Petrol Retailer’s Association.

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