Botterill,who is also president of the Scottish Grocers' Federation, says bluntly: "If a store is not performing it has to be turned round. And if it doesn't work, get out of it and concentrate on stores that are going to give growth and profit."
It is a gameplan that has worked for him. Botterills' overall sales are up 12% to £55m in the year to May 31, 2003,and the chain is ranked 21 in The Grocer's Top 50. Profit is expected to be "very positive", says Botterill.
The chain's head office in Blantyre, central Scotland, is buzzing with profit-chasing ideas thanks to the recent management restructure, says Botterill. His daughter Lizette Craig, who is retail director, heads up the team with James Cochrane, services and distribution director.
The revamped team would be able to handle 10 new stores at a time, says Botterill, and will be angling for cast-offs from the majors as they consolidate. It is also considering buying larger stores of up to 8,000 sq ft.
Botterill reasons: "l believe in the next five years there will be a market for bigger stores, where half the space could be used for another type of business. Specialist food-to-go or pizza franchises might work and then there is the growth in the video/DVD chains."
The chain has one Esso forecourt store, opened in 1990, and is also looking at three potential new sites. At least 50% of turnover would have to come from the store, says Botterill.
The majority of Botterills' stores are within working class C1, C2 and B2 type catchment areas and within a 50-mile radius of head office. But with the opening of store number 38 in September, a former Costcutter, the empire will stretch 60 miles away to Dunfries.
Botterills began life as a single counter service CTN, opened by Jim Botterill's parents in 1956. An uncle later joined the enterprise. Jim Botterill himself joined in 1966 after he left school, he "came for a few years and never left". His 37 years have encompassed the abolition of retail price maintenance and the counter service.
Underpinning the chain's success has been a good relationship with Scottish Spar wholesaler CJ Lang, says Botterill, and it has been a Spar chain during the whole of his time there.
The chain is unique within Spar in UK in that it has its own depot and distribution for wines and spirits and cigarettes.
That business was developed in late 1960s and early 1970s by Botterill's uncle and now includes highly successful own label whisky and vodka. In fact, its £12.99 a litre whisky is its bestselling and its £10.99 vodka second only to Smirnoff.
Drinks are another big focus for the business at the moment and Botterill plans to put four to five meters of chilled beer units in every store. He will also be discussing ways of improving the offer with soft drinks suppliers Coke, Britvic and A G Barr. "Drinks are where the growth is ­ 70% of all liquid is drunk out of home" he explains.
Sales of lottery tickets are doing well, up 7% this year at the 28 participating stores. Four stores are in Spar's top 50 for lottery ticket sales in the UK. And in six stores, Botterills is also trialling locked gifts stands for more expensive items like watches, jewellery and perfume.
Business is thriving at the moment, but there is no room for complacency, particularly after Tesco's acquisition of T&S Stores. There are no T&S stores in the country yet, but Botterill is realistic about the future: "It may be a year or two until we see Tesco Express stores in Scotland, but it will happen.
"Once it has the T&S estate the way it wants it, it will start to look elsewhere."
Botterill will let his daughter Lizette deal with that challenge. He plans to become chairman and let her take over as md in the next few years. In fact, he was about to hand over the reins to her while he took a well-deserved holiday in the US with his wife Nanette. One port of call was to be Las Vegas. But, he laughs: "I won't gamble it all away!"
His strategy of cautious development of Botterills also looks as if it could be a safe bet.