Camlin service station in the spotlight

Joe Raleigh’s family-run Camlin Service Station has been serving one of Longford’s arterial routes since 1988.

The popular forecourt is already home to an award-winning BWG Spar, but Joe is convinced his latest partnership with Valero will see his business flourish in what are changing times for the industry.

“In November last year we found ourselves in a free situation,” Joe told IFCR. “Valero offered us a strong package and we accepted.

“The Texaco branding went up about a month ago and it looks fantastic.”

But Joe isn’t the only happy one, as he tells us he’s enjoying the reaction among his regular customers.

“We’ve had some great responses,” he said. “It’s a completely new forecourt, with new Texaco 20/20 brand imagery. The red really goes well with our Spar Express store too.

“All the branding we have is the most up-to-date, and it looks particularly good at night.”

But that’s not where Valero’s input ends, Joe tells us, speaking highly about the other support the firm provides.

“The partnerships means that we can offer our customers quality fuel products that they can trust and that we can stand over every litre of product that we sell should an issue arise,” he said. “Valero is passionate about the quality of its fuel and coupled with the trust associated with the Texaco brand, it gives us immense confidence in our forecourt offering.

“The partnership means we have a bright, safe and attractive forecourt that sells quality fuel.”

Joe Raleigh
Joe Raleigh

After discussing the positive future for his service station, IFCR asked Joe about the challenges facing the sector he is most concerned about.

“The fuel black market is still having a negative impact,” Joe said. “It’s also still difficult getting a good margin on fuels while trying to offer value for money to customers.

“There are also still a lot of costs, such as insurance, water, and power. But with Texaco, we feel that we’re in a good place going forward.

“Valero is the largest independent refining company in the world and have committed themselves to the Irish market. It’s great to be part of its increasing presence here.”

Addressing challenges posed by the black market fuels in more detail, Joe welcomed the launch of the latest fuel tracer Accutrace-S10 at the beginning of April, saying it would go some way to mitigating the impact of illegal fuel launderers.

“It will definitely help,” Joe said. “Along with measures like the monthly Return of Oil Movements forms, which allows the Revenue Service to track where the country’s oil has come from and where its headed.

“It’s definitely getting tougher for the criminals, and we can slowly see it making an impact.”

Although standing in East Longford for over 25 years, Camlin Service Station is a relatively new forecourt, after undergoing an extensive redevelopment in 2007.

Joe said the refit involved the installation of double skin tanks, and environmental monitoring equipment, taking the station into the 21st century.

The works also included a redeveloped shop, but that’s not the end of Joe’s plans.

“We’re now planning an upgrade to the car wash, and are fitting a 24 hour pump,” Joe told us.

“We try to look at each element of the business separately, and that’s one of the things we’ve been able to do better since joining Valero.

“Valero looks after the fuel side of things, leaving us with time to concentrate on the shop. It keeps everything simple. The forecourt looks after itself more or less.”

After so many years of experience in the industry, IFCR also wanted to hear what Joe was expecting in the near future.Valero 2

Making his predictions about what lies ahead, Joe said: “We’re probably going to see a lot of new fuels, and more development for petrol. Diesel has gone as far as it is going to go.

“There’s card technology as well, and our 24 hour pump is part of that change. It’s coming on line very soon, and I think it won’t be long until all our pumps are 24 hour, and paid for by card only.”

Asked if automated pumps meant less customers would venture into the shop, Joe was clear that was unlikely.

“We have a member of staff on the forecourt, helping customers at all times,” he said. “It’s about simplifying things for customers. It’s about shortening the time they spend refuelling.

“They’ll still come in to use the shop, but we want to give people the chance to get on with their busy days.”

If Joe’s customers are half as busy as his forecourt, then good times lie ahead for all.