Great Horkesley wine merchant toasts 36% sales increase following facelift

AN independent wine merchant is toasting soaring sales following a store facelift.

The Wine Centre at Great Horkesley, near Colchester, has seen a 36% increase in turnover after it had its shop fitted out to increase its selling space by a third.

The work was carried out by West Bergholt-based builders Ponder Construction over a three week period.

Wine merchant Anthony Borges said they had decided to press ahead with the refurbishment despite the difficult economic climate.

“We won a trip to New Zealand last year after being voted ‘Independent Wine Merchant of the Year’ in 2009 by New Zealand Winegrowers. We came back inspired with new ideas for our business to meet the recession head on,” he said.

“The refurbishment gave us increased space for a gift room to introduce new local suppliers and food categories, providing greater diversification and selling opportunities.”

Nigel Ponder, owner of Ponder Construction, said investing in refurbishment and renovation can seem risky, but done well, could significantly increase business potential.

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“More and more local businesses are converting their current premises, changing their style and layout for a more modern, contemporary feel,” he added.

New structural steel beams were fitted to allow for a new open plan shop area, and services installed such as air conditioning, plumbing and electrics. The shop was fitted out with custom-built oak wine racks, the shop facade partially replaced and modernised and more security added with a new front wall and security gates.

“The shop is much brighter and more contemporary, in line with the service our clients expect,” said Mr Borges.

“Since the refurb was completed, we have already seen a 36% increase in sales. We believe this is because people want to see expansion and development when in the grip of a recession. We are delighted with our renovation – the professionalism with which Ponder’s skilled craftsmen went about the work and the finished result is really fantastic and a credit to their organisation.”