Flagship site spearheads Maxol’s expansion plans
Maxol has just unveiled its much anticipated Mulhuddart service station on the M3, its largest scheme to date and a new benchmark both in terms of building design and consumer offering. It’s part of an ongoing and extensive expansion plan for the brand.
Leading forecourt convenience retailer, Maxol, has just opened the doors on the largest ever service station development in the company’s 96-year history.
Occupying a prominent two-and-a-half-acre site on the M3 near Blanchardstown, Mulhuddart Services opened to the public at the end of March.
A week later, Maxol unveiled another new station at Donabate in north-east Dublin and between them, both developments have created 80 new jobs.
The new full-service Mulhuddart scheme is being operated by independent retail partners Donal and Liam Fitzpatrick, the well-known local brothers who already own the multi-award-winning Junction 14 site at Mayfield.
The opening at Mulhuddart represents a €6m investment and offers the latest in forecourt design including a fully-equipped truck stop, parking for more than 80 vehicles and a comprehensive Irish healthy food court offering.
Commenting on this milestone for Maxol, the group’s general manager and soon-to-be chief executive, Brian Donaldson, said that the project – along with the station at Donabate – represented “a significant investment” for the brand:
“The creation of 80 new jobs will be of huge benefit to the areas and the overall economy,” he added.
And Liam Fitzpatrick said that he and Donal were “delighted to be looking after this new state-of-the-art facility”:
“There is nothing more exciting than the challenge of having 70 new staff,” he added.
The new Maxol/Mace Mulhuddart station offers a four-pump island layout with high-speed refuelling facilities and a selection of ultra-modern forecourt facilities.
The forecourt building itself comprises more than 10,000 sq. ft. of bright and welcoming retail space spread over two levels. Downstairs there is comfortable seating for more than 60 diners and upstairs, customers have access to a plush lounge area complete with children’s play facilities, wi-fi and state-of-the-art toilets.
The food offering includes the first ever forecourt outlet for Irish healthy food company, Chopped, which already has five branches in Dublin city.
Maxol also unveiled its first forecourt Insomnia café at Mulhuddart and a branch of its own healthy food deli brand, Moreish, which offers fresh sandwiches, salads and coffee. Iconic Irish burger chain, Supermac’s also has a presence in the new station.
“Changing consumer demands mean that this business is no longer only about the provision of quality fuel, it’s about the full forecourt service and convenience offering,” added Brian Donaldson.
And he went on:
“Maxol is very proud of its new state-of-the-art facilities at Mulhuddart and at Donabate, both of which represent a significant investment and achievement for us. The creation of 80 new permanent jobs will be of huge benefit to the areas and the overall economy.”
The Mulhuddart opening takes its place in a significant, ongoing expansion plan for Maxol. Just last month, the brand was cleared by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in Ireland to acquire three former Esso service stations located on the Naas Road, Kill in Co.Kildare; the Greenhills Road in Dublin 12 and the junction of the Naas Road and the Long Mile Road at Walkinstown, also Dublin 12.
These latest additions to the Maxol network will see the company grow its network to 230 service stations across the country, with seven new sites in Leinster alone this year.
Brian Donaldson indicated that he hoped to see the three Leinster additions operating under their new livery by July 1:
““We have been keen to strengthen our presence in Leinster and these three stations will allow Maxol to serve a great many new customers in Ireland’s most densely populated region,” he added.
Mr. Donaldson said that the trio would complement other recent developments, including Mulhuddart, and another two-acre site at Ballycoolin in Dublin where construction has already begun. That station should be finished by the end of the year.
“Business at our station in Mulhuddart has certainly exceeded all our expectations and already we are hitting the targets that we had in the budgets for the first year,” he told IFCR. “Trading had been very strong across all the categories.”
He also admitted that he had been surprised by just how appealing consumers found the extended offering at the new site:
“Chopped has been a real winner for us in terms of consumer interest and it was a real destination venue from day one, when customers were queuing to get in,” he added. “That’s continued and it’s been the story across all the concession that we have there. Our own brand, Moreish, has been very successful for us aswell and its business is also growing.”
Mulhuddart represents Maxol’s first venture into this kind of large scale, food court retailing and Mr. Donaldson revealed that over the next three or four years, the brand hopes to develop up to 10 more of this type of forecourt:
“We’ve been buying up parcels of land and putting in for planning permission for similar developments in locations where we have the space available. We’re looking for bigger locations, anything up to five acres. The dwell time in these stores can be 15 or 20 minutes so you need to have a lot of capacity in your car park for that.”
Mr. Donaldson also said that he felt the opening of Mulhuddart had been a “game changer” for the Maxol brand:
“We are a fourth generation business that has been very much trusted as a fuel supplier for a long time,” he added. “Now we are moving into the food service space and within the next two or three years, we want to be seen as a provider of choice in food service with a great range of products available at all times of the day.”
Maxol currently has 100 company-owned sites in its network. That will be expanded to around 120 within the next three or four years with an expansion of the food service offering at those sites where it is warranted, added Mr. Donaldson.
He also emphasised the key role that independent dealers will continue to play in the expansion of the brand.
“They are a very important element of what we do,” he said.