Gateshead-based retail group, Charnwood Wines, to expand Premier convenience stores

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Premier: expanding in the North East

Premier: expanding in the North East

Gateshead-based retail group Charnwood Wines is set to expand its chain of Premier branded convenience stores with the purchase of an additional store following £470,000 in funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial. The purchase is a part of a longer-term growth plan to make Premier a major name in the North East convenience and retail sector.

Charnwood Wines is a family business owned and managed by Peter Iqbal and his two sons. The original store opened in 2002 and its second, Soka Stores, opened in 2011.

The funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial will allow the family to purchase a freehold site, a former pub at Felling, which will become a mini market catering for the needs of the local community. The new store will create employment opportunities for 15 people, taking the total number of employees to 30.

Romel Soka, finance director, Charnwood Wines, said: “Our two mini markets are trading well and we feel it is a good time for us to expand. We have an excellent loyal customer base and are confident we will make a success of the Felling store. Santander’s guidance and support throughout this process has been fantastic and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

Mark Rutherford, relationship director, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “Mr Iqbal is well known and has an excellent reputation in the community. We are delighted to support him and his family as they expand their business. Charnwood Wines is a great example of a local business which is highly regarded in the community and we are confident the family will make a success of their new store.”