Retail Merchandiser - September/October 2013 - (Page T54)

Retail STATE OIL CO. Service with a Smile Northern Illinois distributor State Oil Co. is proud of its reputation for providing friendly customer service at clean, convenient one-stop shops for gas, car washes and snacks. After turning around a failed gas station, Bill (left) and Pete Anest purchased a small oil distributor and developed their business of buying and selling gas stations. W Bill Anest, chairman Libertyville, Ill. 54 hen 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 September/October 2013 want them to stay upbeat and positive, even if they have a complaint, because that will keep getting them coming back.” In addition to friendliness, State Oil Co. also requires cleanliness, stressing the importance of clean bathrooms and clean floors during training. But that’s not all the stores emphasize. At one location in a small, rural town, the store is known for its great pizza, which is a top seller. At its dozen c-store gas stations in the area in and around Rockford, Ill., employees make fresh sandwiches each day, and these have also become a big hit. Although State Oil Co. is a gasoline distributor, it knows store profits often come from running cstores, not just gasoline sales. While gasoline may reap profits of 10 to 20 cents per gallon, products inside the store such as candy bars generate 30 or 35 percent, Anest says. Therefore, with increasingly volatile gas prices, stations increasingly focus on the convenience store side of their business, as well as their car washes. In fact, at State Oil Co. stations, customers who push the “yes” button and buy a car wash receive a discount of 10 to 20 cents per gallon. The car washes can be another lucrative side of the business for State Oil Co. Although they require an initial investment to build, once up and running the car washes do not require much additional investment other than cleaning chemicals and maintenance. And most importantly, the washes offer a convenient service for motorists. “People want the convenience of a one-stop shop where they can get gas, food, snacks and also a car wash,” Anest says. “Everyone is looking for convenience to do all their chores without making too many stops.” Of course, the success of all these endeavors gets back to its employees’ attitudes. State Oil Co. treats employees with respect and promotes from within, Anest says. Some employees have spent their whole careers with the company, working there for 30 or 40 years.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - September/October 2013

Retail Merchandiser - September/October 2013
BLE 2013
Cyber Defense
Looney Tunes
The Biggest Loser
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
LeBlanc’s Food Stores
Clark Appliance
16 Handles
Cycle Gear
Wedge Community Co-op
All-Rite Construction Inc.
Radio Shack
Terraco Inc.
New & Notable
Focus on Convenience Stores
Bagels or Bookcases
Healthy Food
NACS 2013
Casey’s General Store
Monarch Custom Beverages
Craig Distributing
Nouria Energy
Maritime Farms
Speedy Q Markets
Parker Cos.
Orton Oil
The Linn Cos.
Tiger Fuel Co.
Architec Housewares
State Oil Co.
La Vie en Rose
New & Notable

Retail Merchandiser - September/October 2013