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Small but perfectly formed

Catering for the needs of a very specific customer base and ensuring they love the store and want to shop there is the key to the success of a quaint convenience store in Oxford.

East West Provisions stands at just 400 sq.ft. but it stocks some 1,000 lines, does a roaring trade and its shoppers remain loyal, probably in no small part due to the efforts of owner Richard Tyack in ensuring their every need is catered for.

“People have to want to come in here and so we need to make them love us. We want them to come back to us and want to shop here and so we need to know our customers and have relationships with them,” he said.

And with two of the University of Oxford’s colleges sited just a short walk from the store, the offer for students is one that is paramount during term time, and no less so than in October when new students are arriving.

“Freshers’ Week is really important to us because that’s when we start to build relationships with our new customers. Because many are students, they move on quickly, leaving the area once they have finished their studies, so we want them to be regulars during their time here.

“We always try to do something special in Freshers’ Week to get the new students through the door and allow them to see what we have on offer and hopefully that will encourage them to come back.”

The store is hosting a wine tasting session this week with free t-shirts up for grabs, thanks to support from wine supplier Hardy’s and students who spend a set amount of money in store over the coming weeks will also be rewarded with a free ice cream.

Richard, who has been running the store since the year 2000, said: “We make our customers feel welcome and we cater for exactly what they need by offering a personal service. If customers love our store and everything about it, we will be a success. Everything comes out of that.”