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Where Small Change Means Big Business
On 14.04.2003
As the downturn in travel leads to redundancies and route reductions across the airline industry and the travel sector generally, one small UK-based firm appears to be defying gravity with improved results from airport retailing, continued investment in innovation, and now the opening of a new flagship branch at a prime London site. Bureaux-de-change operator The Change Group International plc has added to its London network with a glossy new operation at Marble Arch.

“Location is critical in our business”, says Change Group founder and Chairman Dr M Zackariya-Marikar (‘Zacky’). “When we learned that this site might be available we moved quickly to acquire it”. The Change Group prides itself on innovation in retail design and on designs that ideally fit each location, rather than repeating the same styling regardless of the local environment, which is how most currency exchange networks work. At Marble Arch this means a a highly visible ‘street presence’, achieved with bold styling and clever use of lighting. In the new branch the Group is also trialing new technology, with live webcam coverage to enhance security for the company and its staff.

Innovation and attention to detail

The same innovative approach can be seen in other parts of The Change Group’s operations. At San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf the group turned a mobile Coca Cola stand into the world’s only high-security cash operation run from what is in effect a market trader’s stall. In down town Sydney, noticing that a well-sited parking garage was not used during the day, they created a “now you see it, now you don’t” bureau de change that is laser-guided into place at the start of shopping hours, and gracefully disappears to reveal the garage entrance again as the shops close. “This required a lot of attention to detail and the use of specialist skills”, says UK-based director Eve Bailey, who worked with local management in Sydney on the project. “But if we can make something work where normal retail premises are scarce, we can both save of costs and get one step ahead of the competition”.

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