Sands and Benson back Colin Smith’s retail venture

For Bestway exec Colin Smith has revealed the partners in his new retail venture are former Bellevue Cash & Carry owner Graham Benson and convenience store veterans David Sands and his father, Lindsay Sands.

Pinkie Farm Convenience Store, which is being built on the site of a former farm on the outskirts of Mussleburgh, will open in May. Smith. Smith will manage the store and is Managing Director of parent company Lothian Stores, which has named Benson, and David and Lindsay Sands as director.

Trading under the Pinkie name and supplied by Nisa, the new 6,000 sq ft store will aim to retain the character, heritage and values of the existing adjacent Pinkie store, established in the 1960s as a traditional farm shop by the late father of the current owner Lynn Todd who has sold the store and some of the farmland to the Pinkie directors.

With a strapline ‘Honest Local Value’, the store will have a particularly strong focus on fresh and chilled foods including meat from a local butcher, fresh fish and locally supplied fruit and vegetables, seasonal when possible. Other features will be food-to-go lines freshly prepared in-store and based on the successful model created by David Sands in his former Kinross-based c-store business. An in-store bakery will be provided by Stephens, the award-winning Dunfermline-based firm while there will also be a café area.

“It’s a true convenience store in every sense but much bigger and with a fresh and food-to-go offer that few c-stores are able to provide because of space restrictions,” said Smith. “I want to ensure that longstanding customers can come to their new Pinkie store and buy everything they can at the moment,” he explained. “However, I also want them to be pleasantly surprised when they shop with us for the first time and leave Pinkie talking about the greater choice and quality of fresh produce, the new food-to-go offer, additional services and the great promotions.

All staff will move across to the new business and Smith has revealed the company is already looking at additional sites.

David Sands commented: “It’s an ambitious project with an exciting, young businessman at the helm. I’m confident that Pinkie will make a big impact on the Musselburgh retail scene and set a benchmark for the future direction of the convenience store sector inScotland. With over 400 new homes going up within walking distance, it’s a fantastic location for a convenience store. I’m delighted to be part of this business venture with Colin and also Graham Benson, a hugely experienced and driven businessman with great ideas. ”

Graham Benson added: “Pinkie is shaping up to be an outstanding convenience store and I’m delighted to be embarking on this new business venture with Colin Smith, who was an outstanding employee and is the figurehead of this exciting new business in East Lothian. It’s also a privilege to be working with David Sands who boasts a track record in convenience retailing that is difficult to surpass.”

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