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DUBLIN -- In the latest edition of the RetailVision "Meet the Boss" series, Insight managing director Dan Munford interviews Applegreen chief Bob Etchingham about the challenges and opportunities in the convenience forecourt sector.
"I've been in the oil business all my working life," said the CEO of Ireland's leading independent forecourt retailer.
Etchingham began his career as a graduate with Esso in Ireland, Exxon Mobil's Irish affiliate. He worked for the oil giant for 10 years, including a two-and-a-half-year assignment in the United Kingdom.
However, an entrepreneurial streak pushed him to go out of the corporate world and set up by himself. Etchingham left Esso in the early 1990s and "without any strategy," acquired a filling station, than another and another and slowly built up a network.
In early 2000, a change in competition legislation enabled Etchingham to buy a block of sites at wholesale prices from one of the major oil companies. Crucially, the deal increased its number of unbranded sites and prompted a similar move in its shops, which had previously been branded as Spar.
However, Etchingham realized the business needed a brand that would wrap around the fuel and store business. The Applegreen brand -- meant to conjure up food and a fresh-oriented offer, but not fuel -- was born in 2005.
This video interview is in two parts, separated by a promotion for the Future of Convenience event, being held Sept. 19 to 23, in London and Dublin.
For more "Meet the Boss" videos, go to www.retailvision.tv. For more information on the Future of Convenience conference and study tour, go to http://www.globalcstorefocus.com/cgi-bin/newsletter.pl?edition=201107&this_page=6