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Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Euro Garages Frontier Park Blackburn, Lancashire
08 April, 2019

Location:

M65 at junction 6

Forecourt:

The first thing to be said about Euro Garages Frontier Park is that it is a massive site. So big in fact, that upon entering I got confused by the signage and ended up at the adjacent KFC! As I made my way to the forecourt, I saw plenty of cars using the drive-thru Greggs (the Greggs is in the store so the drive-thru takes you round the outside of the shop). The KFC and Starbucks (both with drive-thru facilities) are across the road.

The pole sign for the impressive forecourt has BP at the top, then Spar, Greggs, Subway, BP Ultimate, 'Collect your Nectar points here', AdBlue, Krispy Crème, Starbucks on the go and 'open 24 hours'. It's a big, spacious forecourt with separate HGV facilities. Advertising on the car/LCV side promotes BP Ultimate and the BP app.

Frontier Park is the first site in the UK to have Istobal's new Smart Car Wash facilities. The Spanish car wash firm describes Smart Car Wash as "a new generation of car wash facilities designed so users get the best and most personalised experience".

Outside the shop you find a free-to-use ATM, newspapers and the usual barbecue fuels and kindling

Shop:

As you enter, the Starbucks Espresso to-go unit is directly in front of you. Greggs is on the right, highlighted by a huge poster, which says: 'Grab life by the butties'. Then there's a Krispy Kreme stand as well as a Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice unit with oranges piled high, ready to be squeezed. This leads you into the Subway. Subway has a good seating area.

The Spar shop is to the left of this. It's all very well laid out with wide aisles so it's easy to navigate. The soft drinks section across the back wall is particularly impressive. Everything is faced up nicely, and there are good offers on Red Bull.

The store features eye-catching, end-of-aisle imagery showing photos of food-to-go, for example.

There's an excellent range of snacks including lots of nuts and seeds. The produce in the fruit and veg section looked appetising but there were a few gaps. There were a few gaps too on the bread/pastries shelves.

There's a truck accessories unit adjacent to car care and this is all located near a Totally Wicked vaping store-within-a store. At the entrance to this store-within-a-store, there's an Allday Dr.com unit where you could 'investigate' blood pressure and body weight problems.

The toilets (men's, women's and disabled/baby change) are very impressive. All sparkling clean with marble tiling throughout and great vintage American truck graphics on the doors.

Prognosis:

The Frontier Park development is owned by Monte Blackburn Ltd, part of the massive EG group. The 90-acre site will include around 1m sq ft of warehouse and industrial buildings and also a hotel and the already-open Euro Garages' flagship site. It is all due for completion by 2022 and aims to create 2,000 jobs.

Diagnosis:

Once the hotel opens opposite, and the warehouses and industrial buildings are full, EG will no doubt be in 'gold mine' territory with this new site. Once people have visited I have no doubt they will want to return.

Prescription:

A brand new site always has something of the 'wow' factor because everything is shiny and new. However, this EG site still manages some surprises such as the drive-thru Greggs, the vape store-within-a-store, the 'doctor' unit', the truck accessories and the freshly squeezed orange juice set-up. Overall it looks and feels amazing. However, there were some gaps on the shelves, which let it down, as did the lack of an alcohol offer. Standards are extremely high on this site so the management will always need to be on top of their game to maintain them.


When a major car manufacturer like Ford predicts that sales of its electrified cars will outnumber petrol and diesel models by 2022, does that ring alarm bells about the possible speed of change for forecourts?