PGNJ Ltd find the winning formula with Nisa as store number 11 opens in Rutherglen
Jay Javid has been making a name for himself in the Scottish grocery scene, as a big thinking retailer who has been cleaning up on silverware from industry awards.
PGNJ Ltd’s newest store in Rutherglen – Nisa Local Wee Mill - will be the first to take electronic shelf labelling, which includes larger digital displays for promotions. As a nod to its previous life as a pub, there is a walk-in 32 sq.ft. beer cave, in the same position as what was once an area for off-trade sales. Jay has kept The Wee Mill name above the door, alongside the Nisa Local fascia, to appeal to former clientele.
However, distinctive grey, white and black cladding on the exterior of the building proclaims that the business is under new ownership. Fitting with Jay’s mantra for investment, he says he has spent close to £300,000 developing the store. Jay wanted to achieve a stylish, modern space using many of the latest components on display in Nisa’s most recent show store at Stoneleigh.
The store is near a golf range and is in a heavily populated neighbourhood, with both a working-class and middle-class customer demographic, perfect, he says, for the Co-op own label. There might be a Tesco Extra 140 metres away, but Jay says he is aiming at the convenience shopper who is not currently catered for, with the same long opening hours of all his stores from 7am to 10pm daily.
He is also trying to benefit from the nearby industrial estate with a food to go section which has a fresh cream cake counter, and a TurboChef oven and serve over for toasties and other hot savoury snacks. There is also a Pret Express coffee machine and Tango Ice Blast, Fanta and Coca-Cola slushed drinks, and a display for the Nisa meal deal.
Like Jay’s other stores, Rutherglen sources locally, including hot savoury snacks and cakes from McGhee’s Bakery and Aulds the Bakers, and Equi’s Ice cream tubs. But largely, he says, he likes to stick with products sourced through Nisa or its Direct to Store suppliers.
“We spend a lot of time with the Nisa development team and really listen to them for the basic layout of our shops and range to fit with us having more Scottish lines than typical, with Stornoway black pudding, Lorne sausage, potato scones and brands such as Golden Wonder and Irn Bru,” says Jay. “We feel like we have a marriage with Nisa, sharing the same vision of what stores should look like, and the standards to expect.”
Jay says that while his PGNJ Ltd business has ambitions to run 20 outlets by the end of 2025, it is most important to invest in existing stores so they are modern and reflect up and coming sectors.
As well as plans to open four stores in 2024, with the first at Townhead in February, he is refreshing three of his current outlets. He is also introducing Nisa’s Evolution Multisite EPOS category management system, with electronic labelling throughout his estate.
Jay is also looking at introducing food to go concessions, pharmacies and sub-Post Office counters “to offer more things for shoppers under one roof”.
“The retail game has changed in the past two years, so that being successful is not so much about store numbers, but investing in what you have, with innovation, a very strong online presence, and offering home delivery which is crucial now for convenience businesses,” says Jay. “Who’d have thought before Covid that so many shops would be delivering groceries? Now, customers have come to expect it.”