Behind the Business with… JET Tranent

March 9, 2021

Anne and Carolyn look back on 40 years with JET, from BBC crime dramas to that famous Lothian community spirit and having the best view in the UK (particularly when viewed from the men’s toilets!) Here’s a glimpse behind the business…

Tell us about your dealership.

Anne: JET Lothian is in an enviable spot, sitting high up, overlooking the sea and on a clear day, you can see a famous local landmark – the Forth Road Bridge. There’s nothing quite like the view we have from our forecourt. Customers have been known to say it’s the best in the UK… especially when seen from the men’s toilets, or so we’ve heard!

How long have you run/managed your dealership?

Carolyn: We’re a family business. My dad first took it over in 1965 and in 1978, it was passed down to me to carry on the legacy. We actually used to be an Esso site and it wasn’t until 1980-81 that we became a JET business. Anne then joined us after leaving school and has been with us ever since.

How many members of staff do you have?

Anne: Other than the two of us, we have four part-time staff. Carolyn and I take on most of the hours and the rest of the staff tend to cover evenings and most of the weekend shift. It’s a team effort!

Tell us about being a JET dealership.

Carolyn: We’ve been with JET for 40 years now and over that time, we’ve grown together. For us, it’s all about the relationships we have with everyone involved, and that ranges from our loyal customers to the drivers who we’ve built a particular bond with over the years. Everyone involved plays a crucial part in helping the business run smoothly.

"We’ve been with JET for 40 years now and over that time, we’ve grown together."

What do you love most about the new JET brand image?

Anne: When we were first shown pictures, we weren’t sure what we’d think about a change of image but when we saw the final product, we loved it! It’s got a real look about it and when you take it in at night-time the forecourt really stands out with all the LED lights illuminating the station from the ground up. It’s just so modern, bright and clean feeling. The illuminated JET Essentials sign feels very classy too!

What have your customers said they like most about the new JET branding?

Anne: Our customers aren’t short of an opinion or two! And what’s great is they really love it as much as we do. People come in all the time, commenting on how good the branding looks. They like the bright lighting, the yellow, blue and grey colour scheme and often say how modern it feels. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much the customers have not just noticed, but also really taken to the new image.

What is one thing you wish people knew about you/your industry?

Anne: Behind the business, there’s a lot of activity that our customers don’t see. They visit and there’s a well-stocked shop, full petrol pumps and smiling staff, but they don’t really get how it all comes together. So much goes on behind the scenes that customers aren’t really aware of. Some people are unaware that underneath the forecourt, there are big tanks fuelling the petrol pumps. It would be interesting for our customers to see the hard work that goes into keeping our customers fuelled up!

“We’re a part of helping people get to work. And just as the community are here for us – we’re here for them, to help keep everyone moving.”

What brightens your day?

Anne: We have a strong connection with our customers. Our locals are fiercely loyal, that’s what we love about them. Many of our regulars won’t shop anywhere else and that’s because we’ve put a lot of energy into building those bonds. Throughout this entire period, through Covid and beyond, people looked out for us as much we did for them. Lots of our customers come in on their way to/from work and even while working from home during lockdowns, they would go out of their way to check in on us. That’s Lothian community spirit for you!

During the first lockdown, people popped by to ask if we were open, but of course we were because we’re an essential service – we’re a part of helping people get to work. And just as the community are here for us – we’re here for them, to help keep everyone moving. They asked after us during the difficult times and wanted to know that the business hadn’t been affected either. We also train up our staff to be friendly and warm with customers. Just the other day, a regular came in saying how “helpful” our staff are and that if she has any problems, she knows they will help her. That makes me feel proud of our business.

“Our customers aren’t short of an opinion or two! And what’s great is they really love the new branding as much as we do.

Best on-the-job memory?

Carolyn: One of the most exciting things that’s happened to us in more recent years was the shooting of a TV drama. Five years ago, a scene for the BBC crime drama ‘One of Us’ was filmed here. It was a big event… they shut down the road, changed the image of the forecourt, made their owns signs and filmed for a couple of days. In the episode, something had happened in the shop, two detectives walked in, looked at the CCTV (which was real CCTV footage taken from the scene in the shop) and went away again to figure out the case. It was amazing to see our business on the TV!

What time do you start work?

Anne: The day starts for me at 6am, I check the papers, stocks and fuel, all in preparation for opening at 6.30am. Then in the afternoon Carolyn takes over for the afternoon shifts. Our part-time staff are in from 9pm.

Sum up your job in three words.

Carolyn and Anne: Rewarding, sociable, engaging.