NightOwl owners have a hoot
WHEN Nick and Roz Woodham opened a NightOwl convenience store in Lismore, they were advised by the franchiser it would take some time to become solidly established.
"They said it might take three years to build the clientele, to build the name and the brand," Mr Woodham said.
One year down the track and Mr Woodham reckons they have come close to hitting the three-year targets.
"It's been a huge success, with the numbers exceptionally strong. The name was unknown in Lismore, so we had to ensure our customers got the best service and had the experience of being made to feel welcome," he said.
The result is that repeat trade from local workers makes up the bulk of the Woodhams' customer base.
"We know most of our customers, and many of them like to stop for a chat," he said.
Visitors to the town make up the remainder of the customers, meaning demand for some items can soar at times.
Estimating that demand was one of the challenges in the early days for Mrs Woodham.
"It was all new to me. I was starting from scratch," said the former hospital receptionist.
The shop's 170sq m contains 3000 product lines, for which the Woodhams split responsibility. Mr Woodham said the buying power of the NightOwl chain gave them an advantage in Lismore's CBD.
It allows them, for example, to offer a range of "two for" deals, he said.
"NightOwl can buy well and pass the savings on to its customers - and everybody likes to think they're getting a good deal," he said.
The food options also seem to attract many of the several thousand customers who come through the doors each week - including up to 4am on weekends.
Ms Woodham makes chicken and gravy rolls that have a faithful following, the Eagle Boys express pizzas sell well and the schoolkids flavour of the year has been drinks from the Frozen Coke machine.
"Cheap Tuesday", instituted six months ago, has doubled the numbers through the shop on that day.
To add to the success of their inaugural year, the couple won the food champion award at the recent 2011 NightOwl Awards for Excellence gala dinner.
"We never went out to win any award," Mr Woodham said. "But we were really happy to be recognised for our hard work."