Avens Retail fascia debuted in Kirkcaldy

Avens Retail store front

Multi-store retailer Zahid Mukhtar has unveiled a brand-new fascia for his latest store in Kirkcaldy with help from specialist convenience consultancy the C-Store Collective.

by Antony Begley

Scottish retailer Zahid Mukhtar has opened his first ‘Avens Retail’ fascia store with the support of Nisa and specialist convenience consultancy the C-Store Collective. The new store on Rosslyn Street in Kirkcaldy is Zahid’s second store in the town and his third in total, with another site in nearby Ballingry.

While the two existing stores are Nisa-branded, Zahid was keen to give his latest store a fresh new identity to help set it apart from the competition. For a relatively small town, Kirkcaldy is already well served in terms of convenience, with chains including Greens and David’s Kitchen already well established there.

“It was important for Zahid that the store stood apart from the competition so we worked with him on developing a bold strategy to achieve that,” explains Jon Rons, co-founder of the C-Store Collective.

“Zahid approached us last year and we were invited to run what we call our Health Checks on his existing stores, basically getting under the hood of the business and producing in-depth analysis and developing a strategy to develop the business, drive efficiencies and improve the profits of the stores.

“In the midst of that he told us he was planning to add a third store and asked our advice on helping ensure it stood out and made a splash in the local community, as well as offering him some flexibility in the future. The discussion quickly evolved, and we agreed that the best way to do that was to build a brand-new fascia from the ground up.”

Rons introduced Zahid to a C-Store Collective partner, the Design Workshop in Hull, to start developing the concept for the new brand.

“We’ve worked with the Design Workshop on lots of projects and they’re very familiar with the sector,” says Rons. “They work with Filco and Heron Foods, for example, and also CK Foodstores in Wales – so they know convenience.”

“The first concepts were around Kirkcaldy’s historic links with the linoleum trade,” laughs Rons. “Zahid was keen to give the brand a true and authentic local feel so we gave him various design options and in the end he settled on Avens Retail, a name which comes from the wood avens, a local wildflower. Hence the logo you see above the door now!”

Rons and fellow C-Store Collective founders and industry veterans Mike Igoe and John Heagney then developed what Rons refers to as a “brand bible” which Zahid followed when implementing to the use of the new branding.

During the process, it became clear to Rons that Zahid’s extremely successful food-to-go offer could be further elevated by creating a sub-brand which could be used across all three stores.

“Food to go is huge in the two existing stores and it’s done really, really well,” he explains. “So we recognised the opportunity to create a special sub-brand to give the food-to-go offer its own unique identity. We agreed on Avens Deli and it was rolled out across all three stores. It looks fantastic and it’s landing really well with customers.”

All in all, the new store has the look and feel of a bright, airy and modern convenience store and, despite only being open for a few weeks, is already proving to be a valuable addition to the local community.

The grand opening saw local residents join footballers from Raith Rovers and MSP David Torrance for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. Day one visitors were given goodie bags, free burgers, Calippo slush iced drinks and a raffle with the opportunity to win a 50″ TV.

One lucky customer also took part in a 60-second supermarket sweep to celebrate the opening of the store.

Nisa fully supported the launch and provides the same level of support and expertise throughout the whole store development process to stores that open under an independent fascia.

“This new store felt like the perfect opportunity to introduce Avens to the residents of Kirkcaldy and, so far, our customers have been very complimentary about the store,” says Zahid.

“The benefit of being a Nisa customer is that they really do support your vision for the store and work with you no matter what fascia features at the front of the store. The support I’ve had from Nisa’s retail and format team has been brilliant, and they’ve worked hard with us to deliver our vision for Avens and supported our launch event alongside some suppliers.”

The store carries a comprehensive range as well as food-to-go and a glass-doored beer cave. Store manager Lee Drysdale has worked in retail since the age of 16. Lee describes this store as “a hybrid between a convenience store and a supermarket”, with the larger store size differentiating it from typical high street convenience stores.

The store has also partnered with Kirkcaldy’s award-winning Stuarts the Bakers and Butchers to offer meat and baked goods. This includes a new custard fudge doughnut created exclusively for Avens.

With the new store set to play a major role in the local community, Zahid is intent on actively giving back to the community through Nisa’s Make a Difference Locally (MADL) charity. MADL helps Nisa stores raise money that can then be donated to local charities and good causes through the sale of selected products in store.

So far, Zahid’s wider business has donated almost £10,000 through MADL to benefit initiatives operated by St Andrew’s RC High School, Lochgelly High School and Kids Come First.

It’s still early days for Zahid and his team but the indications are that the new store will prove to be a fantastic new asset and there’s every chance that this won’t be the last Avens Retail store in Scotland.

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This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.