Lilley’s Centra returns to its roots with a Texaco rebrand
Lilley’s Centra in Enniskillen is heading back to its roots with a rebrand at both its sites.
Both the Drumlyon forecourt and the newer Dublin Road forecourt, which has just won a major retail award, have become Texaco filling stations – but in a way it’s a return to tradition, as owner Una Lilley says.
Both stores have been with Topaz/ Circle K for the last 15 years, but when she first took over the Drumlyon store it was a Texaco station, as she tells IFCR.
“The site is 30 years old this year. It was a small filling station with a stand alone pump outside a house on this road with green fields around it,” she says.
“So my dad would have been passing by every day, going to and from work and he saw the potential to develop a service station on the site 30 years ago.”
Una took over 22 years ago when the family were considering selling.
“I offered to come home and run it for a while to stop them selling it and I’ve been here ever since.
“It’s probably undergone three incarnations since then. It was a little smaller in every way, including the range. It was a more traditional filling station then – more oils, car trees, not as wide a grocery range.
“It was originally a Texaco station and we’ve kind of gone back to our roots in terms of our fuel supplies.”
Una admits the past 18 months have been a turbulent time for the forecourt, first with dropping fuel and hot food sales in the initial months of lockdown, followed by a hugely busy period – and now difficulties finding enough staff.
Add to that the recent problems with rising fuel and food prices which will put more pressures on both business and customers.
“Fuel has just gone up in price and we’ve no real control over it. We get the first hit on it,” Una says.
She says it can cost £50-60,000 for a fuel load and it will then sit under the forecourt for around 10 days before the money starts to come back in from customers.
“Costs in general are seeing a significant rise which is going to be our biggest challenge next year. We’re facing a different time next year. I think it’s going to be a very different world,” Una says.
She believes customers have some money in their pockets at the moment which will see them through Christmas, but come January and February everyone will be feeling the pinch,
“Costs are going through the roof and that is going to lead to higher prices. I think next year will bring different challenges and the crisis management will continue for a while. I think next year will be all about margin,” she says.
Caption: Receiving the Independent Retailer of the Year Award (1,201 – 3,000 sq ft) is Una Lilley (centre), owner of Lilley’s Centra Dublin Road, Enniskillen, who is joined by, from left to right, David Shrimpton, Editor for the Independent Retail News, store colleagues Joanne Palmer and Betty Flynn, plus host, comedian and presenter Alex Brooker.