Husky Builds on Reputation
By Angela Altass
Husky – it’s a proudly Canadian business with a great reputation that is well known to branded dealers and customers alike.
“Husky is different than a lot of other fuel and convenience retailers,” says Joel Skulsky, Husky’s director of retail. “We believe in being an important part of, and contributing to, the communities we serve, and we believe in building strong relationships with our retailers and branded dealers. Communication is key. Our retailers have a voice and we’re very proud of the strong business bonds we’ve established with them. We’re Canadian and we’ve been proudly part of the fabric of Canada for more than 80 years.”
Many Canadians have fond memories of family travels across Canada by car and making a Husky travel centre a destination stop, says Mike Santry, business development manager for Husky’s retail and commercial businesses. Santry recalls that “here in Canada – it’s Husky,” was, at one time, the company slogan.
Husky’s team has a reputation as trusted, knowledgeable advisors to branded dealers, says Santry. “When the branded dealer succeeds, we succeed.”
And thanks to a recent agreement with Imperial, Husky can also represent the Esso brand, and does so exclusively in the truck transport business, further contributing to opportunities.
“We’re proud to represent the Esso brand, which also has deep roots in Canada,” says Santry. “The fact that experienced Husky personnel can support two major, recognizable brands provides a level of trust and comfort that you don’t always find in business relationships. Potential branded dealers are aware that there’s strength and opportunity in either brand.”
Although the world is navigating in unprecedented times as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact lives and businesses, Husky continues to emphasize the importance of communication with its network, even if that means some adjustments are required.
“First and foremost, health and safety is at the forefront of our minds,” says Skulsky. “As a result, we’ve modified the way we do business but we’re still finding effective ways to communicate. We’ve built a solid reputation with our branded dealers and we can still be productive and collaborative with our dealers even if we can’t meet face-to-face.”
Santry says getting to know people has been a key element to his personal success and it has been challenging during the pandemic to not be able to sit across a table from people to learn more about them.
“We’ve adapted with more regular touchpoints by teleconference and Skype meetings,” he says. “We’ve developed a cadence with weekly meetings with all stakeholders: construction, operations, training and marketing. And, for any new branded dealer, we include Husky’s subject matter experts, for instance, the manager of our loyalty program or a category manager specializing in merchandising, to help with the onboarding process.”
Santry continues to strongly believe in the importance of getting to know the people across the business in order to leverage their strengths to help branded dealers succeed.
“I have been with Husky for close to two decades. I’ve enjoyed many different roles and maintained close connection with those I’ve met along the way,” he says. “Having such a strong network has been critically important in this position. I’ve relied on the expertise and assistance of others across many channels to help support our new branded dealers. Not everyone opening a gas station has petroleum operations experience, let alone food service, category management or point-of-sale experience. We’re able to offer that assistance from a variety of resources, up to and including hiring personnel who were once retailers within our own network.”
Husky continues to evolve its processes to ensure a smooth handoff from the contract stage to operationalizing a site, says Santry, who foresees continued network growth in Husky’s future.
“The fueling industry will evolve and we will continue to partner with progressive and innovative branded dealers who are also ready to evolve,” he says.
Skulsky agrees that the company looks forward towards continued growth.
“We want to continue to grow our branded dealer network,” says Skulsky. “As the industry progresses, so will we. We see tremendous opportunities to attract entrepreneurs to our network under both the Husky and Esso brands.”
Further information about Husky is available at www.myHusky.ca