Holborn’s has been trading in the town of Redhill since 1974 and has undergone several refurbishments over the years. In 2005 owner Dean Holborn took on a second store in South Nutfield. He is now in the process of revamping sections of each store alternately. 

What stage are you at currently with refurbishing each store?

We refurbished the Nutfield store last year and we took the tobacco gantry from behind the counter, effectively moving it into the counter itself. This allowed us to move spirits behind the counter, giving us more space both for spirits and for the
rest of the BWS section, using the space where spirits used to sit. We will do the same in our Redhill store this year. 

We refitted the whole Redhill store three years ago. 

What changes have you made to your BWS section over the years?

In our Nutfield store, where we recently freed up more space for BWS, we increased the range of spirits and we worked with Hatch Mansfield to introduce a fine wine offering. This has been really strong. 

In wine the staple purchase is really from our everyday range, but we think there is a place for premium wines for the demographic who live in the area. 

We did work with Palmer & Harvey before it went bust, and at that time the level of pricing stopped at £10 for our wines. But we know there is a market for wines priced above that so we were able to put in a fine wine selection from Hatch, and we have seen great success with that. 

We have about 20 wines and
they are priced £10 and upwards, with Taittinger Champagne at the highest price point. We have some brilliant Riojas in there, and other nice wines. 

Who are your nearest competitors?

In Redhill we are in a busy, trendy area and it is more of a neighbourhood store. We are near a BP Marks & Spencer and a Premier store, which has a big BWS selection because it was once an off-licence. We also have a Majestic nearby. 

We have a post office in store and we offer food to go, which makes us different from the rest. 

We have introduced a small seating area outside of each store with lighting and wifi to encourage shoppers to stay longer with their food-to-go purchases and coffees, and to make the store more visible from the main road. 

How do you stand out from your competitors? 

The look and feel of our stores is so different and we have really focused on the shopping environment. 

The stores are not huge so we have focused hard on the layout and the look and feel. 

We do a lot of link shelving using artisan crate-style modular units in our BWS area. We do sell some of the same products as our competitors but we have premiumised the look of the store to make it an attractive place to shop. We added a lot of refrigeration and our chilled offer is exceptional. 

We now work with Blakemore after our time with P&H, and we have had great success with that. Since working with the wholesaler we introduced the Spar varietal wines and they have very good reviews. People are coming back for more. These are a strong everyday staple for us. 

What sells well in BWS?

Prosecco just seems to sell all the time and sales are going through the roof. We have focused on adding some premium gins so we now have Sipsmith, Whitley Neill and Hendrick’s as well as Tanqueray and Gordon’s. We have been focusing on the premium end in general in spirits because people will pay for the highest-priced drinks. 

Cider is popular. We have a strong range of bottled cider and Blakemore is good at promoting those, and bottled ales. 

What are your plans for the future? 

The next stage will be revamping the BWS section in our Redhill store. As in Nutfield we will be removing the cigarette gantry to make more space, then we can move things around and add in some new products. When we did this in Nutfield sales increased considerably from BWS, so we know that this works.

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