Tell us how you came to own and run service stations?
I used to be in the rag trade – and at one time we were producing 2000 garments per week! We were serving the cheaper end of the market and eventually, over time, our margins were squeezed and squeezed and it stopped being viable. So in 2008 we bought our first site, Meadow Vale Garage in North Wales and the rest is, well, history. I still have an interest in fashion but more of that later!
Can you share your top tips for running a successful site?
Work with the locals and embrace your immediate community. Take time to talk to your customers and listen to what they want and need. What do they like, what don’t they like – understand the nuances. And it may sound obvious - but stock a shop with produce people need on a day to day basis. Do your homework, do your research and offer the very best you can for your community.
What has been the response to the new JET branding at Meadow Vale?
We invested in new pumps, a new canopy and a new shop. It was quite the transformation and there is no missing us now! We stand out for all the right reasons and the impact on the business has been incredible. Prior to the rebranding and makeover we were selling approximately 1 million litres and we have doubled the numbers. And the shop? Sales are up 500%! All the elements have come together and the numbers speak for themselves.
Tell us more about your relationship with JET
Across the board, a great bunch of people. It is a relationship based on respect, professionalism and kindness. I have other companies who want to supply us who say they can match the deal. And even if they can, they can’t match the trusted relationship we have built over the years.
During Covid, Matt Pougher - who is a fantastic manager - said to me: “Yasin, we will never let you run out of fuel”. And he’s been good to his word. He will always try and accommodate our needs.
I met Renee Semiz recently (MD, UK Marketing, Phillips 66 Limited) and told her about my background in fashion and how I felt the uniforms could be better – and we spoke for two hours! She really listened and seemed genuinely grateful for the feedback and suggestions. Clear communication and transparency all the way. Let me tell you, she is also fantastic.
What have been the standout moments to date?
It’s very hard to pinpoint particular moments but I am probably most proud of our people – some of who have been working at our sites for over 30 years – and well before we came on board. It is important to support where we can – and financially too if that’s needed. We have the son of one of our long-term managers now working with us and we are supporting him as he does various exams etc.
As a business owner/business leader you are only ever as good as the people around you and we are fortunate to have caring, dedicated, thoughtful staff – who I appreciate greatly. I also feel very lucky to have my two sons in the business with me.
Any exciting news to share?
Meadow Vale Garage has just become a JET site and we have already seen volume increase by 7% with future targets of 3.5 million litres. And in June our Peniston Road site also switched to JET and in the first month we have seen a 9.5% increase in volume! Really positive results and great to be growing our relationship with JET.
If you had to sum up your job in three words – what would they be?
Enjoyable, great-fun and never-boring!