One Stop, according to their website has been trading for over 20 years and currently operates over 700 stores in the UK. That is about it. From what I know, One Stop in my home town, Preston, Lancashire has taken over 2 shops in recent years which used to be Spar. I had only ever nipped in when passing for a drink or cigarettes but having recently moved just before Christmas, the local shop is One Stop, so I have been using it every couple of days for the past 8 months.
The shop from the outside looks quite large and you get the impression that you will more than likely get what you want from inside of the shop, even though they never advertise any offers outside unlike my previous local shop which was Bargain Booze. The shop is very clean looking. There is a 24hour free cash point outside the shop and a 6-7 space car park. The cash point I have never known to be out of money unlike other local shops here who never seem to have any cash in the cash point.
On entering the shop there is a couple of things near the door on ‘offer’ which let’s say if we go to any other shop would be normal priced! They currently have a 12 pack of velvet on offer for £6 and buy one get one free on pringles, which are £2.70 each, which is more than buying 2 packs from any other shop.
The first aisle includes fruit and veg, fridges, breads, tins, freezers and jars. There is a small range of fruit, mainly apples, bananas and oranges and of course spuds. The fridges have fresh meat such as chicken fillets, where you get 2 very small fillets for £6! Mince and pork chops seem to be in the fridge a lot also. You then get your sandwich meats and cheeses along with yoghurt and juice in the fridges. There are 2 very small freezers at the end of the aisle which have the typical chips, roast potatoes, yorkshires and microwave pizza’s etc. The usual corner shop freezer contents. They do offer the ‘meal deal’ for £3 where you can get a packaged sandwich, crisp or chocolate with a drink.
The next aisle includes household products, baby items, pop, chocolates and tea/sugar stuff. There is also a small rack of overly priced DVD’s such as a Peppa Pig DVD for £7.99 which you can get in HMV or anywhere online for about £3.
The last aisle had pet food, beer, sweets and crisp along with the magazines and newspapers, and then the tills. The tills consist of 3 tills, where only ever 1 is open even at busy times.
So after that brief explanation of what is included in each aisle I will tell you the plus and negative points of the store otherwise I will ramble on.
The good things about the store are the ramp outside which is handy for prams and wheelchairs, yet they have a door which is constantly shut and very hard to open. My Daughter cannot open the door for me with the pram, so I have to struggle using my leg, ass, back to squeeze in squishing the baby in the process due to the heavy door they have.
Some offers which run regular are bread which is 2 for £2 for Hovis, but if I buy 2 I end up not using the 2nd in time so it is a waste of money for me, but ideal if you use bread very quick in your house. There are cereals on offer at the minute for £2 although the boxes are very tiny, so generally not worth it. They do sell their fresh meat and bread half price the day before the sell by date which is not bad as you can freeze most stuff or if you are using it the same day then you can get a good buy. Also baby wipes, nappies and fizzy pop are on offer a lot, but as said above, when on offer they are at the normal RRP, which i will explain below.
The negative points about the shops are:
Hard to find what you want, even now after 8 month of using the shop i struggle to find stuff, so god knows how those who just nip in on passing manage to find things.
Very cramped. I can hardly move around the shop, especially with the pram. I get to the end of an aisle and have to walk all the way back round as they have very slim aisles plus random things stacked in the middle of them like dog food or pop or beer with a price flag on top of them!
Very slow to serve you. The staff never smile, they never rush and they never hardly speak. The man who has it now had the shop when it was the Spar when my partner was a kid. My partner is 30, so you would think the man would have some sort of developed customer service, but he hasn’t. Being used to our old local shop, Bargain Booze, no matter how busy they were they were quick to serve yet had a good conversation and a laugh with you, here they don’t. They don’t even say Hi when you get to the till. I have been in at the worst time....tea time on a Saturday when people are doing lottery. The guy spends more time watching his cameras then focusing on serving you and he stops halfway through just to watch the cameras closer. I get so mad when I am in that queue. Then another employee will enter the till stand there then walk off. Ok so you’re not serving then?
A lot of things are very and I mean very overpriced. Pampers wipes, £2.69 usually at the dearest shops I know. I recently went in and the price they had on them? £4.89 for ONE pack of wipes. The DVD’s are pricey and so are their meat as I said earlier. 2 very small chicken fillets for £6 is way overpriced. Another thing very overpriced is painkillers. Galpharm branded ibuprofen or paracetamol, who are usually 19p in BnM, Home Bargains and other corner shops are £1.49 here. Dare to buy Nurofen and it’s way over a fiver.
Constantly ID you. I am 25 with a 5 year old daughter and a 1 year old son. There is one girl who ID’s me every time I go in and grab fags for my partner. Ok, do it once but every time I go in, you know my face by now so please stop it. The other day she ID’d me for a scratch card. This got me mad, as you have to be 16 to buy scratchcards! Do I look 15? I must have looked very good pregnant at 10.
So overall, nip in for a drink, to grab cigarettes or to grab a loaf, but to buy many other things it is over priced, the staff are unfriendly and very slow to serve you. I do tend to go the opposite way and nip to the little newsagents now as the One Stop just gets me mad, as you literally cannot just ‘nip’ to it as they take so long to serve you.
Considering it is called One Stop, the aim of it’s name being it’s a ‘one stop shop’, but it isn’t. Considering they have a wheelchair ramp, their store is very much NOT wheelchair friendly. They need automatic doors or the ones which open when you press the button, because someone in a scooter would be knackered. They don’t always have what I went in looking for, and it’s very hard to find the things in the first place. It’s overpriced, under-friendly and I would say do NOT stop at the One Stop Shop!
A few places are open 24 hours these days like petrol stations and some supermarkets but the large stores are normally on large retail parks away from residential areas and the petrol stations a few miles drive away on main roads or dual carriageways. Often it can be late evening or in to the night when you suddenly realise you could do with some milk to make a hot drink or a loaf of bread and One Stop stores are ideal for buying these items on these occasions as they are located conveniently often on the high street or amongst residential areas. My local store is situated with a few other shops and particularly close to houses and being open from six in the morning till ten at night seven days a week is very convenient for spur of the moment purchases.
If you are not sure where your nearest One Stop store is you can visit their website at www.onestop.co.uk and enter your post code and you will be shown a few suggested locations to visit. As well as this you will also be shown the services available at the store you choose for example at my local shop I can make phone credit purchases, use paypoint which I assume is for things like gas and electric, play the lottery and also make use of a cash machine which can be used without having to pay a charge.
The website is really quite slick and easy to browse with lots of information which was a pleasant surprise; you can also view all of their current special offers on a whole range of items like sweets and chocolate, biscuits, groceries, wines and other household goods. I don't think you could do a proper shop here but these stores are great for emergencies and if the offers appeal to you and are of good value on the website it is probably worth walking there to purchase them.
Convenience is a price worth Paying
One Stop is now part of Tesco's but under a different brand name, for what I guess means they are "technically" independant of Tesco's as a brand for competition reasons. They have continued to retain the original look and feel since the 2003 takeover, meaning that they remain independant in the way the stores feel.
The one stops stores are scattered all other the UK, and through their website you can quickly look at the nearest store on the go, on your smart phone, so no messing about with driving miles to find one.
My local store is situated around two miles from the town center and is very convinient to get to! No traffic jams to sit in, while trying to get to it, and it has morethan ample parking! The opening hours mean I can get products from around 7AM to 11PM, so I'm no longer stuck with having to always drive to a main stream supermarket, which means no long queues when I'm only after one or two items, brilliant!
The stores stock a wide range of essential products, from food stuffs, to toiletries, to baby care products, and some have a post office in addition to these services. The products are often limtied to one, or maybe two variations, eg Heinz or one stop brands for canned beans/ sauces. They are often priced a little more say 20p, than mainstream supermarkets, so maybe onestop is not the place for the weekly shop. However, given that there are no long queues, max 1-2 minutes in most cases, the extra cost is easily justified by the time.
I've never purchased any of their own brand products, as I prefer branded goods for food stuffs, as they offer premium quality over supermarket own brands. However, they are most likely manufactured to the same standards of Tesco's own brands, so quality should be ok.
Overall, if you are in a rush, or hate queuing for only one item, one stop is the place for you.
My local convenience store has changed ownership a few times now, though has most recently become a One-Stop branch for the last 2 years. At first, I didn't much like it because everything was at least slightly more expensive than Tesco, which is just 5 minutes up the road, but I've noticed they do have their moments in terms of bargain buys.
I think your opinion of convenience stores such as One-Stop probably depends where you live and what's available to you locally. If you have other alternatives, like a larger supermarket, you'll probably prefer the larger supermarket as they're more competitive with lower prices. If, however, it's the only shop near you, it's probably one of the best convenience stores in terms of its range and monthly offers.
I tend to associate One-Stop with the blue & red colour co-ordinated scheme, from their advertising and their website, to the staff uniforms. This helps to form a stable image, and you can spot a One-Stop store quite easily and know roughly what to expect.
Their website has a locator so you can find your nearest One-Stop and look at their latest offers, which are also sent out as flyers in local papers. According to their webiste, their mission is to provide 'customers with great services, an unrivalled range of products and great promotions'. In my opinion, I've definitely noticed changes to their price range and offers to make me think that One-Stop is growing and moving in the right direction.
One-Stop is a convenience store, and so as you'd expect, they have all the bits and bobs you'd probably need in between your main supermarket shops. They tend to sections for milk and chilled products, a small freezer section, cakes and bread, and tinned & cupboard products (including meal items like rice & pasta sauces, as well as crisps). Confectionary products are usually in good supply, and my local has a good range of chocolates and sweets, in share-sizes and mutlipacks, though most predominantly individual bars/packets. There's a range of drinks, cans and bottles, plus alcohol, and usually individual drinks in the chilled section. One-Stop also has a few of your everyday home items, from dustbin bags to air fresheners. My local also has a few stands dedicated to cards, along with the Post Office area at the back. There are also areas for newspapers, magazines, and the lottery is available at the main tills, along with tobacco products.
The range is therefore pretty varied for a convenience store, and so there's a good choice of branded products to choose from. The shelves usually seem well-stocked, unless of course there's something you desperately need, in which case it depends how lucky or unlucky you are! (Or maybe that's just my bad luck!)
On the end of each shelf there's usually a display which promotes their latest offers. These can bequite good sometimes, so it's worth popping in when you next go past.
The layout is usually pretty easy to navigate as they're not overly large stores. Generally speaking, the stores tend to be well-kept, clean, organised, and products clearly priced. This is a big positive in my opinon, because I don't think I've come across anything in there that hasn't been labelled and priced.
The prices themselves aren't the cheapest when compared to competitive supermarkets or discount stores, but they're not the worst either. I think even their prices have improved to challenge the supermarkets, as they no longer appear to be that much more expensive.
The staff, obviously, will vary from place to place, but I've tended to find them friendly. The general feel to One-Stop is average, nothing special but nothing 'bad' about it either. I like a nosey around One-Stop, and feel comfortable in doing so without feeling pressured by staff and my local isn't usually that busy so I don't have to fight for a loaf of bread like I do in Tesco!
Overall, it's a decent convenience store with a good range, which seems to be improving and expanding, so it can come in very handy for all sorts of purchases.