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Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Cairn Lodge Services
16 December, 2019

Location:

Cairn Lodge Services is located just off the A74(M) between junctions 11 and 12 and is accessible from both the north and southbound carriageways.

Forecourt:

The Shell forecourt and shop are down one end of Cairn Lodge Services, separated from the impressive Farmshop and Kitchen by an extensive car park.

Signage tells customers that they can get 10p off each litre of fuel when they spend £30 in the Farmshop and Kitchen.

It's not a huge forecourt but it does have space to offer separate HGV pumps.

There is attractive wooden shelving for screenwash and AdBlue but there were huge gaps on the shelves.

Shop:

The sign above the door says 'Filling Station & Deli' and first impressions of the shop are good; it all looks very upmarket with attractive shelving and displays but there were loads of gaps on the shelves.

There was environmentally friendly picnicware such as disposable palm leaf bowls and wooden cutlery.

There is a good display of unusual greetings cards as well as magnetic travel games, books and Scottish themed gifts.

A gondola end was meant to house £1 lines but most of the shelves were empty.

A freezer housed Renaldo's ice cream and Lodge Farm Kitchen ready meals but again there were huge gaps in the display.

There was a small section of groceries and of non-foods but yet again some big gaps.

There is also a small section of health and beauty and over-the-counter medicines, which was well stocked.

There is a small range of items for lorry drivers including a daily vehicle check and defect book. There is a small car care section.

Alongside the typical Coke, Red Bull and Irn-Bru, there were some more unusual soft drinks but unfortunately again big gaps in the chiller. And there were some big, unopened cardboard boxes piled up by the soft drinks chiller.

There is a meal deal but it was not very clearly communicated. There were some 'I'm in the Meal Deal' signage but it blended into the background.

What was impressive was the barista coffee section which won the Best Coffee and Hot Beverages Outlet prize at this year's Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards. There is a loyalty scheme where people get double points if they use a refillable cup.

There is also a 'free grounds for your garden' display where the store aims to reduce waste by getting people to use the used coffee grounds in their gardens.

There is a food-to-go counter with a small selection of pies and sausage rolls and a chilled selection of pakoras and Scotch eggs; however most of the chilled food was marked '50% off', which was not particularly appealing.

There is a good off licence section. The wines come with detailed labelling to help customers make their choice.

The customer toilets are out of this world no surprise there as they won Best Forecourt Loo at the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards. They are sparkling clean and tidy, and finished to hotel spec. There are also impressive shower facilities.

Prognosis:

Cairn Lodge is part of the Westmorland family business, whose original motorway service area grew out of the family's farm in Cumbria. Its Gloucester Services was a previous overall Forecourt Trader of the Year winner.

Diagnosis:

Cairn Lodge Services opened in 2014. The Farmshop and Kitchen part of the services is very impressive, unfortunately the forecourt shop lets it down.

Prescription:

In these days where image is everything Cairn Lodge's forecourt and shop certainly looks the part. However, it is badly let down by poor stock availability.

The forecourt shop doesn't so much feel like an extension to the main building but more of a swiftly put together after-thought that definitely needs more thought in its running.


Has the Government's shock announcement to bring forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles - as well as hybrids - to 2035 or even earlier caused concern and disruption to your future forecourt development plans?