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Research reaps rewards for retailer

Two years of research, advice-seeking and store visiting has proven worthwhile for a second generation Nisa retailer who recently launched a fabulously modern, new-look store.

Amit Puntambekar took over the running of the 1,400 sq. ft store in Fenstanton, near Cambridge at the end of 2017 after persuading his father to give him a go rather than sell up.

Previously Amit had been planning on embarking on a PhD at Cambridge but after helping in the shop, he soon became entranced by the business and his career plans took a step in a different direction.

“I’d head down in the mornings and slowly I fell in love with the business,” said Amit.
And so began the lengthy planning process to take the village store to the next level with Amit going into great detail to determine how best to develop the business.

The results of the research are impressive with the entire store undergoing a modernisation programme.

Amit explained:

We focused on the fresh offering, so we now have about 18 metres of chilled food. For a store of our size that’s a lot. When the Co-op range came in, we found we ran out of space. I knew we weren’t unleashing the potential of what was available to us, so we needed more space, better presentation - these products are fantastic. That own brand range gave us a huge amount of confidence to go ahead with the refit.

As well as a new bakery and coffee machine to develop food to go sales, Amit says the wow factor of the refitted store is what impressed customers first. 

“We’re not a corner shop anymore. We know a lot of people in the village rely on us for their everyday needs, so we didn’t just go ahead, shut and do a refit. We spoke to the regulars for three months leading up to it. Many said they didn’t think we needed a refit, because we’ve always maintained the store and taken pride in what we do. They couldn’t understand why we were doing it. But as soon as we did it, everyone was amazed.”

And the refit has led to a boost in sales for the store with further improvements expected.

“We saw in January that weekly, like-for-like sales were up by quite a few thousand pounds. I’m very excited for the summer to see what happens,” he says.

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