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10 Quick Fire Questions with Graham Kennedy

Company / Business: Inner Space Stations

Number of stores: One amazing service station and other businesses outside the fuel industry

Number of employees: 37

Years in existence: 35 Years

1 – What made you choose CBE as your EPoS supplier?

I chair the Hazelwood Group (a northern independent dealer group I formed 25 years ago) and we went to CBE because of a recommendation from another dealer. The group shares best practices and we have all known each other for a long time, and assist each other.  I also really liked Clive Hughes, CBE’s Business Development Manager, who is excellent. 

2 – What are the main trends you are observing within your industry?

Confusion over electrics and a greater focus on alternative profit centres to fuel.

3 – Can you describe what a typical working day looks like for you?

Walk my Bernese Mountain dog who worships me.  I either train, play tennis or cycle 3/4 times a week. I fit work in between. I leave the house after getting told off by my wife for something I’ve not done and then go into the office to get told off by my financial director for something I’ve not done. I seem to spend a lot of time catching up on emails but generally I have new ideas every day and enjoy the ability to indulge myself in exploring new business opportunities.

4 – What do you love about your job?

No day is the same and I enjoy every moment, but I particularly enjoy motivating and looking after all the staff that works for me. The people make the business and I believe it’s my responsibility to help them enjoy their life and workplace.

5 – What do you feel is your greatest strength?

The drive for perfection and motivation to be the best at what I do, but it’s also my greatest weakness as I always think I can do better. I have devoted a lot of my life to raising money for Ataxia UK and when I passed the £1 million target, I felt a bigger sense of achievement than I ever got from making money for myself.

6 – How do you think your employees would describe you?

I would like to think they respect me for my business enterprise, but also know that I never ask anyone to do something I would not do myself. We have a lot of long-term staff and I treat them like they are part of one big family. They also know that I expect excellence from them.

7 – What job role within your company would you be terrible at?

 That’s easy….Health and Safety. Hate it!

8 – What is the most heartwarming thing you have ever seen an employee do for a customer?

The self-storage business we run is forever helping people in distress. Sometimes I can see that my staff are Samaritans and people just need someone to talk to about their problems. Customers are often very emotional and just need a shoulder to cry on. At the service station, we have outside maintenance men 6 am to 2 pm every day and they are our front line. It’s often like A&E with someone needing help with something every day be it blowing up a tyre and being shown how to use the car wash or the jet washes.

9 – What do you do after a hard day at work?

I go home and my dog greets me like I have been away for ten years and been resurrected. I adore all my kids and we are a very close family, so I will spend time with them just talking. Then I think I might just have that gin and tonic…. Again!

10 – Finally, if you could have lunch with one person, who would it be, and why?

 My daughter Rebecca.  We lost her last year and I miss her every day.

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