Change is not only the one constant in life, but essential to running a successful business, according to Jasmin Faucher.
“If you don’t change anything, nothing will change,” states the co-owner of Dépanneur Simone, a convenience store and gasoline station in Saint-Mathias-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal.
He and his spouse Valérie Forget began thinking about how to improve their business soon after they bought it in 2000. Their first priority was to make everything so clean it shined.
“For me, it’s essential that our store always has a clean interior and exterior and we all have smiles on our faces so customers feel like the Dépanneur Simone team is part of their family,” he says, adding that within months, they had expanded the front counter space and added a second cash register a year later.
The display shelves near the registers are rearranged every three weeks. “I want the store to always be fresh and interesting for our customers and the shelves filled with items they might want,” he says. “It`s also a way to draw people’s attention to products they previously may have overlooked.”
Faucher snaps a photo of every new product and creates a sign announcing its arrival. “I like people to see what’s new as soon as they step inside.”
Dépanneur Simone will also have products in stock that customers want but other stores have delisted. “For instance, we have a micro-beer that a larger grocery store no longer carries,” Faucher says.
“I also know what beer everyone buys so I can tell customers about related promotions,” he adds.
Faucher regularly asks suppliers to collaborate on promotions, such as contests. “We currently have a $75 draw,” he says. “It’s not a huge prize, but large enough to generate interest.”
Customer suggestions are not only welcomed, but solicited. “For instance, we ask regulars what kind of ready-to-eat sandwiches they would like to eat,” Faucher says.
Upcoming changes will include being able to order toasted bagel sandwiches and other à-la-minute breakfast food to go.
The owners have numerous other ideas. “More ideas than time,” Faucher admits, “but we regularly make time for changes because we know how important it is to keep refreshing and improving our store.”