Source: SomeoneCreative

Food + Liquor marks Jheeta’s 11th convenience store project in over a year 

Davinder Jheeta has designed a new 24-hour convenience store in Birmingham, dubbed “the store that never sleeps”. 

Jheeta, who has pursued freelance design with his company SomeoneCreative since his exit from SimplyFresh last year, has been working with retailers Mike Nijjer and Manpreet Samra since April to create a store that would be the “best version of itself every hour of the day”.

Its round-the-clock operation was primarily influenced by the 24-hour children’s hospital next door and Aston University nearby. It aimed to be a destination for staff on late night shifts and students, Jheeta said. The city location allowed it to “pick up frequent transient customers” as well.

Featuring a range primarily supplied Costcutter, as well as a vast food to go offer, the 3,300 sq ft store changes its choice of goods “just before night-time hits” to cater to different appetites.

It also features a mezzanine floor for sitting and eating in, and revolving media screens upon store entry with “time-sensitive messaging”. These were unique for the convenience sector, Jheeta said, as they were more traditionally seen in fashion retail stores.

The digital screens gave a sense that the store “was always turned on”, he added, and would “welcome and communicate with customers regardless of what time of day it was”.

During the design process, Jheeta also added “flashes of orange colour” across the fascia and in store, as it promoted “enthusiasm, optimism and warmth”. 

“This store is a different type of beast because it’s been purposedly built as a 24-hour store, rather than a store that has just evolved into one over time,” said Jheeta.

“It’s a moving picture as it constantly caters to different missions and lifestyles,” he added. “Every shopper deserves to feel that they’re the priority.”

The store, called Food + Liquor, marks Jheeta’s 11th convenience store project since he returned to his roots as a freelance designer in May last year. He said he had created 54 projects overall during that time, spanning hospitality as well. 

Jheeta had previously worked as brand and creative director for SimplyFresh, but nearly a year after Sainsbury’s axed its wholesale operation with the symbol group in 2021, he left the business.

Under SomeoneCreative, Jheeta and his team provide services for store interiors, branding, and packaging for businesses looking to create their own brand. 

Jheeta said he had been approached by Nijjer on LinkedIn following the work he had done for Fresh & Proper’s Together with Morrisons store, which opened in September.

“When I open these independently branded stores, they trade well because they are representative of their mission, their surroundings, of what kind of customers they’re trying to attract,” he said. 

“If you want people to come from further afield, you need to be going beyond the standard. It’s time to disrupt the autopilot for independent convenience stores.”