3 ways to build community around your store

Robert Strickland puts his York Harbour, NL community first
Karri-Dee Marcoux, manager, Gloria's Restaurant and Convenience in Sudbury, ON, believes in the importance of supporting her small-town community.

Convenience stores always have and always will have the advantage of community. As a c-store owner, you should know your regular customers, and your regular customers should know you. Here are 3 tips from our Newfoundland C-Gas All Star, Robert Strickland, owner of Byrne's Store:

1. Be present. Be the face of your business and your customers will take note and appreciate your dedication.

2. Know your customers. Get to know your customers by name and ensure every experience they have in your store is a positive one.

3. Spread some cheer. A friendly smile and simple ‘hello’ can go a long way towards making customers feel welcome.


Robert Strickland, and his wife, Wanda, have owned Byrne’s Store in York Harbour, NL for about 14 years, and they’re what you’d call old school retailers. They employ just two staff members, which means these owners are working behind the counter seven days a week.

But as Strickland explains, that’s what makes his business so successful. “I’m here all the time so I see everything that’s going on. I do all the ordering so I always know what’s coming in and what’s running low and what’s selling or not,” he says.

They may not have a Facebook page or Twitter account, but they do know how to build lasting relationships with their regular customers. “You’ve got to smile, be friendly, and you have to speak to your customers. As soon as they walk through your door you have to greet them and show a smile. Be present!” he says.

Byrne’s Store plays an important role in the community, and gets involved in local causes whenever possible. “Our name is definitely out there in the community so we’re always the first business people come to when they need a sponsorship or donation,” says Strickland. “There’s a volunteer firefighter program here and we give yearly donations to that, as well as the nearby walking trails. If there are school programs, we’ll donate yearly to that, too.”

With friendly smiles and a generous spirit, Byrne’s Store has achieved dedicated customers and community staying power in York Harbour, NL.






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