A family business with an eye for the future
Simon Lawrence, Director, Lawrences Garages Ltd
My great grandfather started his first garage serving fuel in 1919 in Stockwell, SW London. It was a big gamble then as the petrol pump had only just been invented but its early success has led to 5 generations of Lawrence’s running forecourt garages. Trying to be the best at what we do, having a friendly team and keeping and eye on the future has ensured that whatever changes and challenges occur we try to be flexible and positive.
This last six months has really tested us. We have made mistakes; we shortened the opening hours to protect the staff only to find it caused queues and aggravation for our customers. We did manage to keep all our team as safe as possible, with three being shielded, yet continued to offer a good service, I hope, to all our customers. My memory of bagging up flour at home to ensure we had stock will not be forgotten as well as the help from a local picture framer who helped us with our splash guards. It’s good to know we are part of the community. We also know that this pandemic has made it easier for thieves to steal from our stores. We were fortunate that in 2019 we made the decision to install another new technology, in the footsteps of our great grandfather, using facial recognition to help us recognise habitual thieves and troublemakers that frequent our store in Southampton.
We know Facewatch has reduced losses, and empowered our front-line team, they have great pride in what they do and want their store to be safe for themselves and customers. Re-running CCTV to find a thief and adding them to the watch list is done with satisfaction. I do, however, view the future both with trepidation and excitement. What will be the future for fuel stations? Electric, hydrogen, we are looking at them all and what value we add. Will Lawrences’ offer home delivery and will those new customers we have met recently keep coming for not just flour but all their every day shopping?
One thing I can say is that Facewatch is a proactive tool that is accurate and reliable – and that’s how I like my tech and business!