>>independent retailer Graeme Knowles

Independent retailer Graeme Knowles has been in the grocery trade since he’s “been in nappies” as he was always very much involved in the family business.
Over the past few months he has been gearing up to convert his Aberdeen store for the second time in 10 months.
Knowles said he had been running a new Mace trial format for Somerfield, which was designed to combine Somerfield’s fresh offer with the strength Mace had in convenience. But he has now moved to Nisa-Today’s and Somerfield has sold the Aberness Mace business to Palmer & Harvey McLane.
“We had been running the trial since October and customer reaction was good, but unfortunately Somerfield had other plans for Mace and Aberness. The decision two months ago to move to Nisa-Today’s wasn’t difficult at all. We gave ourselves four or five weeks to prepare, set a date and have targeted everything towards that.
“The conversion started two weeks ago and we are now trading well as a Nisa Local.”
Knowles’ recent working weeks have entailed discussions with Nisa-Today’s to review product range and
store layout. “I have been very involved with the product lines and planograms. That was all relatively simple but then there was the installation of the IT and EPoS systems.
“That has been the biggest headache of the past few weeks, but everything is running well now and the customer was oblivious to the turmoil in the back.”
The conversion took 10 days to complete, with the rebranding finshed within two days.“I was quite hands-on during the conversion - it was more about merchandising new products on to the shelves, rather than fitting the shelves.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the process, but it has been tinged with sadness with the loss of Aberness - it’s the end of a great era.”
the end of an era - and the start of a new one