Amber continues award-winning growth

Amber continues award-winning growth

The Amber network continues to expand as its outstanding Fermoy site picks up a prestigious Ireland’s Forecourt & Convenience Retailer Award.

Amber was established in Fermoy in 1980 by the Fitzgerald family who identified a gap in the Irish market for a fuel discounter.

Since that time, the company – one of the largest fuel retailers in Munster – has become known for its competitively priced fuel with a successful, dynamic and growing network of service stations. Currently, Amber supplies 45 sites across nine counties, with in excess of 20 dealer sites currently operating.

Amber’s Fermoy service station, situated on the old Dublin road just metres from the M8 motorway, has come a long way since opening its doors just over six years ago. Liam Fitzgerald, Chairman, Amber said: “When we opened in August 2010 we had 30 employed on this site. This has grown to a point where we now have 90 full and part time employees due to continued expansion at the site. We have also added new facilities, including an extended fresh food deli offering, with extra seating for our customers and a new Hillbillies family restaurant.”

Kevin Rice, General Manager, Liam Fitzgerald, Chairman and Gerry Condon, Managing Director, Amber
Kevin Rice, General Manager and Managing Director, Liam Fitzgerald, Chairman and Gerry Condon, Managing Director, Amber

The Fermoy site, which measured 4,850 sq metres when it was opened in 2010, has over doubled in size to 10,700 sq metres today, including facilities such as a car wash, free Wi-Fi, off licence, ATM, and extended customer seating. Additional car and truck parking facilities have also been provided at the site.

Amber’s award winning Fermoy site is a prime example of how successful Amber partnerships can be. The site, owned by Amber and operated under a licensing arrangement, was developed by the in-house Amber team and in conjunction with licensee David Ryan. From the layout and design of the store, to the bespoke design of the forecourt, Amber’s Chairman, Liam Fitzgerald worked with David and the Amber team to ensure a successful outcome to the design process.

“A great deal of research and careful thought went into the design and layout of the shop and the customer seating area. We worked in partnership with Colm O’Murchu, Amber Site Development manager, and his team throughout the process in order to get the formula right,” said David Ryan. “In addition to that, Amber has strong family values and ties to the local community and we felt that was really important in developing and cementing our business relationship,” concluded Mr Ryan.

A bird's eye view of the site
A bird’s eye view of the site

Liam Fitzgerald says they were aiming for a modern, eye-catching layout at their Fermoy service station: “A great deal of attention to detail goes into making this a hugely successful service station. We are extremely conscious that it’s one of the first landmarks you see when you arrive in the town and we wanted to build a forecourt area that was respectful of that. That attention to detail, together with our commitment to maintaining the highest possible quality standards, were central to our Fermoy site winning this year’s ‘Best Forecourt Facilities’ category at Ireland’s Forecourt and Convenience Retailer Awards.”

The Amber team is also keen to ensure continued growth across the business, following a recent investment of almost €8 million in a variety of sites and dealer partnerships. “Needless to say, we’re determined to continue to grow. This means we need to develop additional relationships with dealers around the country and we are very keen to do this. We are confident that we can give any dealer in the country everything they need to know regarding design and layout and we have the price point to match,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

Inside the store
Inside the store

The leadership team at Amber comprises an experienced team of experts that have honed their skills for developing sites. Amber, and, in particular, Chairman Liam Fitzgerald, have been designing forecourts for more than 35 years and their no nonsense approach to business ensures that dealers are able to consistently offer the most competitive fuel prices in their area.

“If any dealer is considering revitalising their forecourt, it is essential to connect with the right people early on and make the most of the experience of others. Small things, such as considering the traffic flow on your forecourt, can save you time, and, importantly, money on a large-scale development,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

The Amber Group directly employs in excess of 250 people, in addition to that more than 150 people are employed indirectly through company-owned sites operating through licensing arrangements. The company works closely in partnership with dealers to build their sites into successful businesses, emphasised Liam Fitzgerald: “We don’t just offer great prices, sign a contract with the dealer and then they never hear from us again. Amber is a family business, built on family values and we see our dealer sites as an extension of our family. The success of our business is based on the support and guidance we can provide to our dealers. From start to finish, we ensure there is always someone available to support them, no matter what part of their business needs our advice.

A view of the shop
A view of the shop

“It’s also important to note that we are very much hands-on in terms of our dealer partnerships and we don’t employ any outside consultants. From the design elements, to hand-picking tiles and flooring, to the shop layout and merchandising, our Amber team has all of the skills required to help revamp sites into award-winning service stations. This is a proven formula, as we have already successfully achieved this with a number of existing sites throughout the country,” concluded Mr Fitzgerald.