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Renovation: Let there be light

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John Manion manages one of the country’s largest Canadian Tire Gas+ sites, located in Kanata, ON. He has operated this high-traffic site for two years, and has worked hard to be the c-gas destination for his growing community.

In the summer of 2014, Canadian Tire Gas+ closed the doors for three weeks for an interior and exterior site renovation. “The renovations have inspired a lot of customers to come check us out again. They may have been customers in the past, but they want to see what we have to offer now,” says Manion.

Read on to find out how this renovation has increased sales and expanded the shopper demographics.

The exterior upgrades

This c-gas site needed to stand out from the nearby competition, and to achieve this, the renovation included new LED lighting.

“We’re really pleased with how bright the location is, and I think that’s a driving factor. People want to feel safe when they’re coming to a c-gas site, especially in the later hours. We’re open until midnight, and the LEDs really light up the whole parking lot and the store,” says Manion.

Additional exterior upgrades included new fascia, paint and graphics on the canopy, which was done by Dupont. “In the car wash, we went with a new style of overhead soft-cloth called ‘The Whisper Wheel’ from Belanger, as well as two side rollers on hydraulic tracks that follow the vehicle down the track and also wrap around the back bumper.”

All 12 fuel pumps were updated with chip-and-pin technology to provide a fast, secure transaction at the pump, and a new diesel price sign was added at the road to draw in traffic from the nearby highway. 

The interior upgrades

Before taking over this 1,400 sq. ft. store, Manion ran a 35 sq. ft. Canadian Tire Gas kiosk, so figuring out the right floor plan and product assortment was a welcomed challenge.

“Canadian Tire reviewed the category assortment to see what we should increase or remove,” he says. They decided to replace frozen foods with a dairy cooler, and opted to introduce a café area to the store, which features pastries, fresh fruit, and deli sandwiches.

“They increased the size of the cash area, as well as adding about a dozen cabinets for storage and supplies,” he says. “We had a variety of shelves and racking, so we replaced that with the new Canadian Tire brushed metal shelving.”

Manion believes these upgrades have created a cohesive, shoppable store that will keep customers coming back time and time again.

The need to clean

For Manion, there was little sense in such a big renovation if store cleanliness and organization wasn’t front and centre. Keeping this in mind, Manion has always made it a priority to keep his store clean and welcoming.

He created a task that he calls ‘zone defense’. Each week, every employee is assigned a section, and it’s their job to clean, stock, and organize the products and the shelving within that section.

The benefits are twofold, says Manion. “By having each person responsible for their own section, we know who’s doing their work and who’s not. With that we can also congratulate someone for doing a job well done, or on the more negative side, we can speak to someone who isn’t playing the same game as the rest of us.”

All of these changes had one goal in common: “We believed that by increasing our product assortment, improving the layout and focusing on welcoming, efficient lighting, customers would see that we’re a serious business with a lot to offer.” It’s safe to say the Canadian Tire Gas+ team, along with Manion and his employees, achieved this goal.

Quick tips

Brighten up. A well-lit store is not only inviting, it’s also safe and energy efficient. Customers and employees should be able to see into and out of your store.

Assign duties. Share responsibilities with staff members and assign specific duties or sections so you can ensure each employee is pulling his or her weight.

Focus on cleanliness. Customers should feel good about buying food at your store. Clean up and rotate stock on a regular basis.