Padraig Rudden, owner of Costcutter Rudden’s Service Station tells IF&CR why Top Oil is the only network for him.
The site on the popular Railway Road in Cavan had been trading for thirty years and in October of last year went under an extensive redevelopment, switching to Costcutter and adding a host of new facilities. Despite feeling the need for a change of fascia group, Padraig was adamant that his current fuel supplier Top Oil would stay.
“I have been with Top Oil for six years now and I couldn’t fault them,” says Padraig. “It is like dealing with a family.”
One of the reasons Padraig is so complimentary of the fuel network is their prompt delivery service citing that if he places an order before 10am in the morning he can receive his stock later that day, or in “the worst case scenario” the next morning. In fact, Padraig is so impressed with the service he has recommended Top Oil to other retailers and many of his friends have switched to the network too.
A wholesaler by trade, Padraig visits stores across the country on a daily basis, always keeping a watchful eye out for the latest high-tech services. “I’m lucky enough that I’m travelling everyday for a living,” he says. “I’m constantly looking at other forecourts all the time and seeing what they are at. You have to, you know? I try and bring a bit of what everything else is doing back home, so I feel we have the best of everything.”
Forecourt services is an area of the business that Padraig believes has advanced considerably in recent years. Alongside facilities that you would expect to find at any filling station across Ireland – petrol, diesel, water, air – Rudden’s Service Station boasts a Parcel Collect and outside washing machine which Padraig reports to be really busy. “It’s unbelievable how much customer’s shopping habits have changed from even 10-20 years ago. People arrive at 2am, wash their clothes and go home,” he says. “Things are changing so quickly that whatever the newest thing on the market is, you need to have it. You need to give people a reason to visit your store.”
And Costcutter Rudden’s Service Station has plenty of amenities to attract custom. Since changing their coffee offering to Urban Sips the store has gone from selling 450 cups a week to 900. “It’s unbelievable,” says Padraig. “Coffee shops are the new bars.” Alongside the coffee, a state-of-the-art Market St deli with a hot food counter and salad bar has been added with considerable seating both upstairs and downstairs. Now customers can come in and enjoy a leisurely lunch rather than dining and dashing. As well as revitalising the deli, Ruddens also added an ice cream concept and in a bold move allocated the dessert station 12 ft of the shop. Dividends have paid off and now ice cream sales are up by 300 percent.
Part of the renovation included trebling the car parking spaces meaning that customers can fill up their cars with fuel and go into shop and pay without feeling rushed. “We are a convenience store and we need to be fast,” says Padraig. “We have good staff in the shop so now queuing on the tills, you get in and out in a few minutes, and our grocery and fuel prices are very reasonable.”
Competitive fuel prices were a factor that initially drew this retailer to Top Oil. “I liked their pricing structure,” he says. “They do day-to-day pricing so it is very clear what the price is and there are no surprises.
And despite renovating the entire site, Top Oil’s branding was an element of the design that Padraig didn’t believe needed updating. “I have always liked their image, and think our forecourt looks well. The team at Top Oil are very good too at coming round and doing an audit on our outside area. If anything doesn’t meet their standards they will have it fixed quickly. They keep you canopy and signage up-to-date and make sure everything looks smart,” he says.
Iconic signage is especially important in a popular tourist destination like Cavan and visitors from the North are able to recognise and identify with Top Oil’s trusted brand image.
“We are on the road out to the hospital with a couple of golf clubs and hotels on the way out there. We are the only filling station on this side of town and we do have a lot of tourists coming to Cavan from the North who would stop and buy fuel from us.
“We also get a lot of business from Top Oil’s fuel card which is increasing all the time. Recently they have added the Garda Síochána and some government services too so it is getting very busy. I would definitely recommend the network to all other retailers – the services and the amount of trade you receive from Top Oil is excellent.”