Owner Víctor Fernández, 41, a native of the northern Spanish region of Cantabria, says he has lost 18 kilograms in just two months without seeing the inside of a gym. His secret: no longer indulging in the kind of products that he now sells to his high-flying customers.
“No doubt this is an area with the kind of purchasing power that’s hard to find anywhere else in Spain,” notes a clean-shaven Fernández, clad in an impeccable blue suit and red tie. “Let’s not kid ourselves: we’ve got [luxury residential estate] La Finca next door, with celebrities and people with deep pockets. This means you can take a risk and carry a €200 bottle of wine, for instance.”
I don’t know of any store that offers quality champagne and caviar 24 hours a day
Victor Fernández, owner
La Finca is essentially a ghetto for the very rich, many of whom happen to be from the world of sport. Security measures here are extreme. Gas station employees – of which there are 12 – list the soccer players who stop here regularly with their vehicles and occasionally buy something from the gourmet shop within: Real Madrid players Benzema, Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, Atlético players Griezmann and Juanfran, and many more.
“They have always been pleasant to us. They never refuse a picture with their fans. [Former Real Madrid player] Guti is among the biggest fans of our gourmet products,” reveals Fernández as he holds up a 200-gram can of Royal Baikal caviar, priced at €420. The 500-gram version will set buyers back €1,000.
Pozuelo de Alarcón, population 85,000, is the wealthiest municipality in Spain, thanks in large part to the residents of La Finca. Average per capita income is €61,643 a year.
“Our business concept involves offering much more than a place where you put gas in the tank. That’s why our shop is so well stocked. We also organize caviar, champagne, wine and cheese tastings,” explains the owner. He and his brother run 12 stations in the Madrid region, but none as profitable as this one.
“If we make €3,000 on any given weekend at the other stations, we can make up to €8,000 at this one in Pozuelo,” he reveals.
One of the most exclusive products on sale here is Damantia canned anchovies. Each tin contains just 10 anchovies and sells for €50. That is €5 per fish. “We bring them in directly from Cantabria, and there is not a single bone in them. The container alone costs €10. These are exceptional products,” says Fernández.
The wine list carries 500 different options, ranging from a Valbuena Vega Sicilia (€96) to a Billecart-Salmon 1999 champagne (€325). Last year the station sold 17,000 bottles of wine. “There are people who come here exclusively to shop in our gourmet area,” says Fernández. “I don’t know of any store, no matter how elitist, that offers quality champagne and caviar 24 hours a day. You could come here at 2am and pick up a bottle of luxury wine.”
The store has only been robbed once: someone figured out the combination to one of the wine refrigerators and made off with three bottles. Anywhere else, the stolen amount would have amounted to a few dozen euros. But at the BP station in Pozuelo, the thief took away €1,000 worth of the finest alcohol.
English version by Susana Urra.