“All these combine to make Lee’s Food Mart a premier convenience store chain in the markets we serve,” Terry Lee says.
Lee’s Food Mart plans to continue expansion with two stores currently in the works in East Tennessee. Within 24 months, the company hopes to have 50 stores total in its chain.
“Terry and Gary have always supported each other, no matter what the situation was or is, which very seldom happens when two brothers work together,” General Manager Gayle Wilder says. “But that’s what family is all about.”
Loyalty All the Way
Lee’s Food Mart’s most valuable asset is its customers. The company strives to keep all stores well stocked, clean and well managed so customers always have what they need. Plus, it provides ongoing training to store managers and clerks so they can assist with any and all needs that may arise.
“We merchandise our stores with our customers in mind,” Wilder says. “We know when a customer comes in our stores they are in a hurry so we try to make it as quick and convenient for them as possible.”
To better serve its repeat customers, Lee’s Food Mart offers a number of loyalty programs. The Lee Oil Fleet Program allows customers to earn up to 2.25 cents rebate off per gallon of diesel purchased. The program serves as a credit card for fuel at Lee’s Food Mart locations. It allows users to swipe at the pump, track their data online and set purchase controls to prevent overspending.
The company also offers the loyalty program Lee’s Bonus Bucks Rewards card. For every gallon of gas or diesel purchased, customers will earn three cents credit towards in-store purchases, and for every dollar spent in-store customers receive an additional 3 percent credit of savings added to their rewards card. This rewards program goes beyond the traditional gasoline discounts given by most convenience store operators and allows the customer to earn credit for inside purchases as well.
Because Lee’s Food Mart’s customers depend on the company’s consistent employee base, the company takes great pride, not only in the quality of its staff, but also in the longevity of their employment.
“Everyone has talent, but it’s about attracting the right people to our company,” Wilder says. “You always have to be open-minded and you’ll be surprised how many great people there are out there.”
Employee turnover is costly, so Lee’s Food Mart practices the golden rule of treating everyone the way you want to be treated. This leads to cooperation across all locations and levels of staff, plus the company offers competitive pay and benefits.
“The longer someone stays with our company, the more productive and valuable they are,” Wilder says. “Showing our employees that we care about them means a lot. Employees who enjoy what they do and the atmosphere in which they work are more likely to stay. I think having a company with employees who look forward to coming to work every day for more than getting a paycheck is very valuable.”
Wilder explains that everyone wants to be recognized for his or her hard work. She believes the acknowledgment of a job well done coming from upper management or the owners of the company always means so much to an employee. Terry and Gary Lee are personally involved in the workings of all locations every day, but still allow employees to make their own decisions. That level of trust is another way Lee’s Food Mart recognizes its stellar staff.
“Lee’s Food Mart consists of a group of people with values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that everyone shares and uses on a daily basis at work,” Wilder says. “I think our employees would describe our company as respectful, fair, trustworthy and good place to work.”