No shrinking violet, NPG Retail, with its signature orange Ubanista Café and Convenience branding, is going from strength to strength and pushing boundaries for standard metropolitan sites, leveraging three generations of petrol convenience expertise, hard work and a commitment to excellence, to deliver something special. This bold group and its bold impact is the focus of our Member Highlight this week.

Eddy Nader, Managing Director of NPG Retail, learnt the petrol convenience industry as a young boy on the forecourt of his fathers service station in Yagoona, NSW. More than 30 years later Eddy now sits at the helm of a 48 Million Litre per year petrol convenience business that includes 6 retail locations and employs over 80 staff. Eddy has taken pains through this growth to carve a trusted and recognised brand identity for the sites, one that is based on an unwavering commitment to quality and a willingness to try new things, in what is a saturated and highly sophisticated coffee and convenience market; Urbanista Café & Convenience.

A passionate and engaged operator Eddy is as comfortable briefing his local member of parliament of the many pressures of running a small business, as he is negotiating customised promotions or branding agreements, or even serving customers. Eddy’s fierce commitment to quality of offer and willingness to explore opportunities is more than a passion, it is the businesses core driving force; understand, explore, engage, adapt & repeat.

“You have to love this business. Its hard work. It is absolutely not for everyone, but if you don’t love it get out now because you are going to fail” explains Eddy.

“You see profiles like these in every industry, and as operators we read them looking for insight, but often the real tricks to success are held back, like a secret. For me there really is no secret. Its simple. Know your market and try new things, it is the only way to achieve the businesses potential. Doing the same things, or being crippled by fear that a new thing might not work is holding most of our industry back. So what’s my secret? I’m not scared to try new things, and I have found brand and supply partners that understand and support that” says Eddy.

“You have to keep it fresh and adapt. If you don’t adapt you are done. Try something new, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, move on” adds Eddy.

“It is about knowing your market and delivering what they expect really well, so that you can use that to deliver some things they may not expect. That is how our focus on really good, real coffee grew to what it is today and it is the same approach we have used to introduce smoothie bars, fresh fruit, vegetable and salad selections, ready made meal selections and now fresh handmade burgers” explains Eddy.

“Burgers in a roadhouse is nothing new, we are not reinventing the wheel, but it is unusual in Sydney metro. Its working. It turns out that when it is part of an offer that has a focus on freshness and quality, people really will buy a burger at a servo. We have one customer who drives over 40 minutes to our Colyton store, a few times each week, just for the vegi burger, its wild” adds Eddy.

The capacity to determine the businesses identity and offer is something that Eddy is passionate about.

“We are independent, and that has been important for a long time. We have had different fuel partners over the years, but the ability to customise our offer and try new things has been vital to our success and is one of the key things we look for in a brand partner. Viva Energy and Ampol have both been great, giving us the support on the fuel side and really backing our convenience initiatives” continues Eddy.

“Good partners are essential to success. For us that means having direct relationships with all our suppliers. This can be hard for smaller operators like us to manage, but it has been really important in allowing us to be flexible. For every new initiative or promotion there are many partners who have worked along side us to bring it to market” says Eddy.

“Our suppliers are amazing. Throughout COVID we have had suppliers bend over backwards for us, to keep us fresh and to keep our community engaged. We had suppliers giving us product, offering to pay for promotions and even lending us their trucks, all to ensure that we could continue to deliver for the community. This response is only possible because we have worked closely with them for years. We are often used to test new promotions before they go to market, one of the key reasons is that with us our suppliers know they get 100% compliance” explains Eddy.

NPG Retail has always been a family business and Eddy is joined by his son Ted, who has also grown up in the business and is now a very active Retail Manager.

“Having Ted on board has made the recent expansion possible and has freed up a little time for me to focus on other projects to consolidate and grow the business” explains Eddy.

“We will continue to grow. We are not chasing a particular number of stores, but we are open to opportunities. The key is good staff, that we can trust to execute our vision and our commitment to quality consistently, and good partners that will work with us to reach our full potential” concludes Eddy.

Working side by side Eddy and Ted are a force in the industry and Urbanista is a brand that punches well above its weight, the commitment, energy and coffee will continue to see the group grow.

Elisha Radwanowski