Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 51

Graham C-Stores Company
and build customer loyalty by creating a mass texting program. Customers that sign up would receive special deals via
text and news alerts like when the price of gas is about to
increase or decrease.

Competitive Challenges
Though Graham C-Stores has been growing in size and revenue, it faces competition that cuts into its revenue stream.
It comes in the form of large supermarket chains with gas
stations, called hypermarkets. These include Walmart, Costco
and Sam's Club - which are known to offer cheaper gas prices.
"They are a threat," Mike Graham says. "But we are a
family-owned company and I believe that shines through to
the customer."
In observance of that, the company has been redefining its
cost structures from a fuel-purchasing standpoint, refining
its labor efficiencies and looking for new revenue streams, he
says. However, Graham C-Stores holds at least one competitive edge over the large supermarket chains.
"We are much more convenient," Mike Graham says.
"We are located on hard corners, making it easier to get in
and out in a minute. The hypermarkets can't touch that."

Fueling the Mind

Established in 2012, the "Fueling the Minds of the Future"
scholarship has donated to the communities the two businesses serve.
Every year, 40 scholarships valued at $2,000 each are
awarded. Applications can be picked up at Graham C-Store
gas stations. Since 2012, Graham C-Stores and Graham
Enterprise Inc. has raised more than $400,000 for the
scholarship program by hosting the annual Tournament of
Hope golf outing.
The event is known to raise $90,000 to $100,000 each
year. It generally takes place in the summer and its participants include employees, vendors and customers. It usually
features a celebrity guest. In 2017, that guest will be Tom
Waddle, a former wide receiver for the Chicago Bears.
Currently in its 28th consecutive year, the golf outing also
raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association along
with various in-store customer donation programs. In the
past 10 years, more than $10 million was raised, Graham says.
Aside from charity, Graham C-Stores also rewards its
employees. It offers a profit-sharing retirement program for
long-term employees. The company contributes between 7
to 15 percent of the employee's salary into an account that
becomes fully vested after seven years of employment. O

The mind needs fuel too - especially the young mind. That's
why Graham C-Stores, along with another family business,
Graham Enterprise Inc., created a scholarship program for
graduating high school seniors in the greater Chicago area.
Graham C-Stores sells approximately 90 million
gallons of gas each year, but hopes to reach 100
million gallons in the near future.

May/June 2017

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Intro
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 3
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 4
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