DOWN ON THE CORNER

GAS KING

When Laurine Sibbet read an article about girl guides not being able to sell their cookies door to door because of COVID-19, she wondered if Gas King would be able to assist by selling cookies in their stores.

As luck would have it, she had a connection to Gas King as Laurine is the wife of Scott, vice president, retail operations with Gas King.

Scott and Gas King president, Brent Morris, agreed that an excellent means of helping out the girl guides and a great community initiative would be to create a display within the Gas King stores and help sell a delicious, comfort snack during this unprecedented time.

Brent made a few calls to local guide leaders, and as it turned out, the guides had their cookies delivered a few days before the pandemic was declared, and once the troupe had received their orders, they were no longer allowed to sell them in their usual way.

Appreciative of Laurine and Scott, the local guide leaders sent Gas King 20 cases (12 boxes per case) to sell in their five Lethbridge and Picture Butte stores the next day. That was Wednesday, April 8, and on Thursday, April 9, 20 more cases were ordered. Since then, the two Gas King locations in Medicine Hat are also selling cookies.

At the time of this story, Gas King had sold over 150 cases of cookies between their Lethbridge, Picture Buttle and Medicine Hat stores, and they are still going strong.

 

The money that Gas King helped the girl guides raise stays within the local community and will help offset the cost for camps, field trips, and additional programming. More details at www.girlguides.ca.

McDOUGALL ENERGY

McDougall Energy’s Retail Team is Now in Alberta

 

McDougall Energy Inc. is now in Alberta to help customers build and sustain a prosperous fuel and convenience retailing business. By expanding into Alberta, customers in the region can choose McDougall Energy as their trusted Esso branded wholesaler and join a network of over 1,800 Esso branded retail service stations across Canada.

“McDougall Energy’s dedicated team in Alberta offers customers a chance to partner with a reputable organization that will help them achieve retail success,” said Paul Meyer, director, retailer business in Western Canada for McDougall Energy. “Our regional team facilitates the process for retail dealer customers, allowing them to benefit directly from the power of the reliable and recognized Esso brand, and the support of Imperial Oil, Canada’s largest refiner and marketer of petroleum products.”

McDougall Energy is a privately-owned, Canadian family business that has been serving households, businesses, motorists, and wholesale energy customers since 1949. In addition to owning and managing a network of Esso-branded retail stations and its proprietary pump brand, McDougall Energy is also a trusted distributor and marketer of propane, Esso heating oil, Esso Diesel Efficient and Esso Synergy fuel products, plus Mobil lubricants. Business customers can also rely on McDougall Energy for bulk delivered fuels, lubricants and specialty fluids; wheel-to-wheel and into-equipment refueling; and access to the coast-to-coast Esso commercial Cardlock network. McDougall Energy has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies consistently since 2011.

By partnering with McDougall Energy and the Esso brand, retail dealers can grow their business with two industry-leading loyalty programs (PC Optimum and Esso Extra), innovative payment options, and reliable access to meticulously engineered Esso Synergy fuel products. The retail site will also receive the distinctive Synergy Fuel Technology image program to enhance the customer’s experience.

With a dedicated and experienced territory manager now in Alberta, individuals interested in partnering with Esso have access to everything needed to start-up and grow. The territory manager will assist customers from the beginning and provide ongoing coaching and advice on how to develop a loyal customer base, operate safely, and maximize profitability.

Individuals interested in learning more or making the switch to McDougall Energy can contact Ken Sherring, territory manager, at 403-462-1038, kensherring@mcdougallenergy.com.

Peninsula Co-op

By Tom Humphreys

Message from Peninsula Co-op’s Petroleum Operations Manager

Convenience stores are not an essential service. Period. I realize that under many provincial government’s essential service definition convenience services are included, under the B.C. government’s definition every conceivable service known to mankind is listed. But let’s be truly honest with ourselves. Life would roll on just fine without them being open. Essential services are those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning.

Throughout every provincial health ministry update across Canada, as well as the Prime Minister’s daily update, the message is consistent and strong; “stay home” and that we need to “stay the course” of promoting physical distancing if we are to get on the downside of the pandemic growth. As most convenience store operators can attest, during coffee rushes and busy times, the c-store environment is one of the biggest melting pots of humanity that a community will see. A near-perfect environment for a virus looking to spread. When convenience stores ignore the government messaging and choose to carry on business under the weak definition of being an essential service, they are putting the health and welfare of not only their staff but the entire community at risk. This shines a light on the entire convenience store industry as being insensitive, shady, and uncaring for the community at large. Some great work has been done in the past 25 years to extinguish the old school convenience store stereotype; highlight it as a viable place to build a career, a place that contributes to the community, a place where blue/white collar, old or young, male or female can shop for needs of convenience in safety. Decisions to stay open at this time when every restaurant, bar, mall, movie theatre, park is closed undoes all the good work that has been done.

 

Common argument for those in the fuel business is that c-stores need to stay open to facilitate fuel sales. This is false. The 18 locations that I manage all closed their c-stores March 23 and are operating “self-serve fuel only, pay at the pump only, c-store closed, no cash transactions.”

Seemed like a stretch in the beginning, but we were determined to find a way to keep the flow of fuel moving (fuel is an essential service) while maintaining maximum health and safety for our employees and the community. We are also dedicated to ensuring that every fuel dispenser is disinfected after every customer. Feedback from our customer and employee base is extremely positive, people are more resilient to change, even big change, than we realize.

I was listening to an AM open line show on the topic of Covid-19 this morning while driving and heard a lady upset that her 17-year-old son working in a convenience store was still selling lottery to customers. She was questioning how in the world a lottery transaction could be considered essential while we are fighting to reduce everything non-essential, and putting her son’s health at risk. The lady is 100 per cent correct, and our industry took another hit because of that call. I can say though, that at the company I work for, we sleep well at night knowing in the time of a health crisis on a scale that the planet hasn’t seen in over 100 years, we are doing our part.

Tom Humphreys has been the petroleum operations manager for Peninsula Co-op since 2003. Prior to the co-op, he worked for Shell Canada on Vancouver Island for nine years. Peninsula Co-op operates 18 retail gas/convenience store centres on southern Vancouver Island. He can be reached at thumphreys@peninsulaco-op.com

 

In the Down on Your Corner section, we share your news. Here is where you will find information on some of the interesting things that businesses in our industry are doing and experiencing. If you have some news to share, please reach out and e-mail editor@convenienceandcarwash.com and let us know about it.