Sunday, 10 January 2010

Local Shop Fights Back

By Sunil Patel

Owners of an independent shop were celebrating the opening of their rebranded store in a direct move against the imminent arrival of a new supermarket.

Harish Amlani and his colleague Vipul unveiled the new Mace store welcomed their first customers on Friday, December 11 as Leicester Lord Mayor Roger Blackmore cut the official ribbon to the business.

Around 50 supporters gathered outside the store for the event which was held at 10.30am.

Harry as he likes to be known, said: “We are very proud of Ram News and the role we've played in the local community.

“However, with the arrival of large multiples in local communities, we have to become more competitive and offer the same choices and promotions as the larger retailers.”

Harry added, “We will be able to offer competitive promotions which will place us in the best possible position. We very much value our customers and look forward to welcoming them in our new independent Mace store.”

Improvements made include new shop signage, new window graphics, in-store categorised merchandising and point of sale promotions.

Harry has been in charge of the highly successful Ram News newsagent for over 20 years.

But Harry and his colleague Vipul decided the time was right to rebrand their newsagent to Mace with a Tesco Express due to open nearby in January

Nitesh Bhundia and Samuel Holmes who have both been regular customers for last two years think the rebranding of the store will help it be successful in the future.

They added, “The regulars will always come to the shop but the bottom line I guess that you have to be able to attract passers-by, it looks good and we’ll carry on coming here even when Tesco has opened.

“Harry knows everyone from around here and he’s got a lot of support on this issue. “You can come in for a chat while you buy your paper I don’t think you’d be able to get that at Tesco.

Mace is a leading independent symbol brand of Palmer and Harvey, the UK’s biggest wholesaler.

Harry and Vipul hope by joining forces with a well-known brand, it will help them strengthen their position in light of the increased competition from the supermarket chain.

As a Mace retailer Harry and Vipul will be able to transform the image of the store and they will also receive help with marketing and store layout.

Lord Mayor Roger Blackmore was keen to show his support to independent traders and businesses in different parts of the city.

He said, “In Leicester many communities depend on these stores like these because they provide a crucial service for people.

“It’s very encouraging to see independent retailers like this one standing up to big companies.

He added, “What people don’t often appreciate is that is prices are very often a lot cheaper in stores like this compared to a supermarket.
“Here you’re guaranteed to receive a personal service and it would be quicker than waiting at a checkout.”

Harry's son Sagar who is employed in the family business thinks moving to Mace will represent a fresh start and said, “We have a lot of regular customers who were happy with the old store but we wanted a change. “I think it means that we will be more visible.

He added, “It’s all about improving the service we provide to our  customers.”

Sarah Healy, Regional Sales Manager for Mace, said, “It’s a great turnout. The store looks fantastic and I’m so pleased the Lord Mayor has decided to show his support.”

Ms Healy argued that for small retailers sometimes all that was required was targeted advice which helped them maximise their profits.

She said, “Having the right number of products at the right times goes a long way. We’ll be offering brand support to the business and we’re going help Harry grow his store.

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