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4 tips from a suburban retailer

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On our journey across Canada to see how location impacts c-stores, we’ve taken you to rural Nova Scotia to meet Sarah and Mike Berry, who offer one-stop-shopping at Advocate Harbour Ritestop. We’ve also gone to the bustling metropolis of Toronto, where Brad McMullen relies on a great location and local brands to engage his Rosedale neighbourhood.

In this last installment of our three-part series, we’re travelling to suburban Lethbridge, AB, where competition is a harsh reality for the locally owned Gas King chain.

But as Southview Gas King manager Michael Addison explains, you don’t need to worry about what your competitors are doing if you’re taking the right steps to attract regular customers to your site. Here’s his strategy for setting his site apart.

The community touch

Southview Gas King is one of four Gas King locations in Lethbridge, and seven in Alberta. With self- and full-serve gas and diesel, a 1,500 sq. ft. convenience store, and an eight-bay self-serve car wash, Addison’s location has something for everyone. In his case, that’s mostly regular customers who trust their established brand, and its role in the community.

“Gas King is locally owned, which most people know, but we’re also very well known in Lethbridge for being a supporter of local sports teams, charities, and other events,” says Addison.

The Canadian Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes are all examples of organizations supported by Gas King, which has also established a charity car wash program to help out different community groups.

What can a rural or urban retailer learn from this suburban retailer?

1. Expand your offer. Triple threat sites ensure customers have everything they need, in one convenient location.

2. Participate with your peers. Get involved in local programs and initiatives to connect with your community.

3. Leverage loyalty. A strong points-based loyalty program unique to your site will give shoppers a reason to choose you.

4. Support your staff. Acknowledge employee efforts with incentives and rewards.