One Stop has reported that it is welcoming its highest number of millennials as franchisees to its growing estate, as young people are taking their skills of the modern age to turn traditional jobs – once in decline – into highly profitable businesses.
The UK’s convenience store market has seen huge growth over recent years, with shopping habits changing and local, community stores now able to compete in value, choice and customer service. The younger generation are being drawn to the proposition of owning their own business, enabling them to harness their entrepreneurial spirits and make a big impact, early on.
By 2020 millennials will be the generation in charge and, whilst owning a convenience store might not seem an obvious choice for many, One Stop says its young franchisees are bucking the trend and reaping the rewards.
One of our youngest store owners is Harnek Sanghera who had previously worked in the family fish and chips shop business and had no previous retail experience. He explains how why he chose One Stop:
“For me they had one of the best systems in place and it’s still improving all the time. I was young when I started but One Stop didn’t look at my age but instead whether I could run a store. I’ve been with them for two years now and I learn as much as I can and the support is superb. I don’t assume I know it all but I make sure I take advice and listen to continuously improve what we offer.
“To own my own business so young feels really good and my friends think it’s great that I support myself. Thanks to the simpler way One Stop operates I still have an active social life but I balance it and it feels good to have ties.”
Another millennial store owner Hardeep Singh from One Stop Kingswinford agrees: “I was going to go to university but decided to follow my father into retail. I look at my friends who did go to uni, who are now in debt and struggling and I feel that One Stop has offered me a better future.
“I started off working for my dad, mainly running the back office but once I saw the One Stop model this really put a spring in my step and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted us to operate the store and the back office as professionally as possible and the One Stop model enabled us to do this. They’re always helpful and the support is second to none, with much better prices than we could achieve on our own. I’ve now taken over from my father and run the store myself.
“Local stores are changing and playing a big part in the retail landscape and I wanted to be part of that. The key to any good business – no matter how good you are as an independent – is the support and advice you get from an established retailer. To succeed today you have a known and respected brand behind you and the customer recognises this straight away.”
With young people brought up in the digital age, at the forefront of technology, how does this play a part in their own businesses? Harnek explains: “I’ve been really able to grow the business and attract customers through social media. When it comes to a younger customer, I know what they like and what the trends are. I’m allowed to bring in different stock and I push this on social media.
“I also use apps like WhatsApp, which you wouldn’t have had a few years ago. We’ve got a WhatsApp group of local franchise owners which has been a really great support and we can come to decisions quickly.”
Without the needs for regular trips to the cash and carry and with everything delivered straight to the store, franchisees have more time to focus on their customers and the in-store experience. As Hardeep explains: “Everyone in retail offers the same products and One Stop deliver it to us at the most competitive price. At the end of the day a product is a product but how you place it and talk to your customer has to be spot on and create a point of difference. I have time to do this and that really helps me run the store more efficiently.”
Hardeep sums it up: “What they say, they’ll do. The One Stop model is tried and tested and I couldn’t be happier.”