Hyson joined the company from Giant Tiger, where he had spent the last seven years of his career, most recently as SVP and chief purchasing officer of grocery. He joined after the departure in September of Hélène Drolet, who had spent just over a year as MacEwen’s SVP of operations and general manger of retail. She recently returned to Couche-Tard, where she had previously been VP of operations for Western Canada, as VP, operations excellence, North America.
Of the two new “Quickie 2.0.” locations opened so far, Hyson says, “We are really pleased with their performance. Customer acceptance has been exceptional.”
Spacious and bright, he says the new Quickie layout in its red and white brand colours and clean design lends itself to it becoming a stronger foodservice destination. “Customers will then feel confident about grabbing a hot, freshly ground coffee or a slice of pizza and we will become known as a great snacking destination at any time of the day or night,” explains Hyson.
A new brand mascot, SnackRabbit – who is featured in the new Quickie logo, in the renovated stores and its digital footprint including on Facebook – reinforces that snacking focus.
“As more stores are converted over to the new brand, you can absolutely count on a strong SnackRabbit digital presence,” he says.
Before its Quickie acquisition, MacEwen had increased its foodservice offering with M&M Food Market Express, the frozen food retailer’s dedicated freezers in other retailers. In addition to County Line, M&M Food Market Express locations can also be found in other c-store brands, like Circle K and Aisle 24. A M&M Food Market Express was included in MacEwen’s first rebranded store.
While Calgary-based Parkland announced an agreement to acquire M&M Food Markets in January for $322 million, the company said it would maintain M&M’s relationship with other c-store brands.
Earlier this year, Quickie partnered with SkipTheDishes, with food and snacks no doubt being a big driver of online delivery. “SkipTheDishes has opened up a new kind of customer for us and we are very happy with the results to date,” notes Hyson.
While all of MacEwen’s c-stores will eventually be Quickies, he says the locations won’t be carbon copies of each other when it comes to product assortment. “It all starts with the customer and rotating our assortment to what those customers want,” says Hyson. “We cater to both urban and rural customers and we will provide different offerings for those different kinds of customers.”
“We will continue to refresh, restore and add new and exciting products,” he adds. “We want to create excitement and newness. Maintaining a strong marketing and brand strategy will be key in the coming year.”