Today, LiptonMart operates 10 locations in Berkshire and Franklin counties, Mass., and Windham County, Vt. The stores offer Mobil and Shell gasoline as well as diesel fuel. The stores’ convenience items include beverages, snacks, lottery games and groceries.
The Lipton family keeps a high profile in the communities it serves through not only its stores and home heating oil delivery business, but also its charitable work. The family and its businesses are involved in a number of activities including local schools and arts programs, Mike Lipton notes.
LiptonMart’s long history is just one reason the company has remained successful for more than 30 years. Lipton says his employees’ dedication to customer service is also a major asset. “I’m surrounded by great people – we have amazing employees,” he notes.
Lipton credits his staff’s service level in part to his hands-on approach to managing LiptonMart stores. “I make it a point to get out to our stores frequently, and I make myself accessible to everyone,” he says. “Our employees know that if there’s an issue they can talk to me – my door is always open.”
Store managers give input into pricing and stocking decisions, and frequently accompany Lipton to trade shows. “They know they have a say in how the stores are run, which I think goes a long way,” he adds. Managers and employees also frequently receive ongoing training on topics including theft prevention, cleanliness and alcohol and tobacco sales.
Theft prevention is one area where the company regularly invests. LiptonMart stores have surveillance systems and other technology in place to prevent theft. “The technology we have in place makes theft more difficult, but it still happens,” Lipton says. “The industry average is two percent of your stock will just ‘walk out,’ but we’re at about half of that.”
LiptonMart also keeps theft at bay through its back office software system, which track inventory. The system also alerts managers when an excessive number of voids or no sales are made on registers. The company recently invested in new touchscreen registers that are linked to the system. “The touchscreen system is very easy to use,” Lipton says. “Employee training on the registers, which used to take us days, now just takes hours.”
‘Outside the Box’
Technology is not the only area of improvement for LiptonMart stores. In recent years, multiple sites have had their locations improved improved as a part of the company’s effort to meet state and federal regulations concerning underground piping and tanks.
A renovation project will begin in September at LiptonMart’s location in Lee, Mass. Although the project was initiated to remove single-wall steel underground tanks, the company is more than merely complying with regulations. “We’re going to completely gut the store and add new features outside including a diesel island and high-speed fueling lanes,” Lipton says.
LiptonMart has added multiple locations within the past few years. The company hopes to continue to grow its reach both in number of stores as well as geographically, he adds.
In addition to the 10 LiptonMart locations, the Lipton family owns and operates three Subway franchises and a Ryko soft touch carwash, as well as a Dunkin’ Donuts location. Mike Lipton says he will continue to seek additional business opportunities, and is supported in his effort by company president Sanford Lipton, his father.
“We’re thinking outside of the box and trying to diversify anywhere we can,” Lipton says. “It’s nice not having all of our eggs in one basket.”