At Wedge Community Co-op, a large percentage of its shoppers are not only customers, but also the store’s owners, CEO Josh Resnik says. “Seventy-eight percent of our sales are to people who are members of the co-op,” he says.

This has motivated the store’s employees to make sure they are providing its customers with top service. “They really help guide you through the shopping process,” Resnik continues. 

Most convenience store chains focus all of their energies on little more than convenience, offering customers packaged snacks and sandwiches aimed at getting them in and out of the stores quickly. Tiger Fuel Company, on the other hand, had the notion of giving customers more than food made with speed in mind. The company introduced its Gourmet-to-Go program nearly 22 years ago at its Bellair Market location in Charlottesville, Va., and its selection of freshly-made deli sandwiches have earned it the distinction of being “America’s first gourmet gas station,” according to District Manager Gordon Sutton. 

When State Oil Co. is training its area managers, store managers and customer representatives to operate its Marathon and Phillips 66 gas station/c-stores in Illinois, the company knows it wants “friendly faces and good service.”

“We emphasize always saying ‘hello’ when someone enters the store,” President Pete Anest says. “It is important to make sure you acknowledge the customer so they are noticed and feel appreciated. We want to make sure [employees] have nametags on and are learning the names of frequent customers. That’s really important. We want them to stay upbeat and positive, even if they have a complaint, because that will keep getting them coming back.”

Customers judge convenience stores by their appearance on a daily basis when they decide whether to stop at one over the other. Knowing outdated looks don’t lure customers, Orton Oil is remodeling its older sites and coming up with fresh marketing ideas to rival competitors.

Founded in 1958 by Leland and Maude Orton, Orton Oil remains family owned and headquartered in Walker, Minn. Fourth-generation owner and Vice President Frank Orton says over the past 55 years the company has grown significantly from where it started as a single oil service station and Ford dealership. 

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