Nr Fuels owner Sahib Batth (Photos by Jaime Hogge)
The modern-day red and yellow Shell Pecten (Latin for scallop) that graces the fuel company’s more than 45,000 stations around the world was introduced by American industrial designer Raymond Loewy in 1971. It has gone on to become one of the most recognizable logos in the world, so powerful that the company can be identified even if the name is not attached.
Doug Granger, owner of Granger Fuels, a Shell fuels wholesaler based in London, Ont., says that for many motorists, the Pecten is synonymous with quality. “There are a lot of consumers who, if they’re driving down the street and they see three gas stations and one of them is a Shell, they’ll go there,” says Granger. “It’s a premium product, it’s well-recognized, and they know the quality and service they’re going to get.”
Shell’s longstanding partnership with the Air Miles loyalty program (which received a “multi-year” contract extension in November) is also a major customer draw, says Granger. So, too, is the fuel company’s new partnership with the CAA, which enables members to save 3 cents per litre on fuel, and 10% off both car wash and in-store purchases.
Its brand and strong partnerships were among the reasons that Nr Fuels & Convenience owner Sahab Batth decided to make the switch to Shell as his five-year contract with Gulf Canada approached its expiration date in 2022. Shell had been the fuel supplier when Batth purchased the business in 2017, but he had switched over to Gulf when his contract wasn’t renewed.
At the time, Gulf had only recently returned to Canada in 2015 after a 30-year absence, and didn’t possess nearly the same brand recognition as its larger rival. Its lack of any major loyalty program partner was also a potential hindrance—particularly as inflationary pressures have caused consumers to rely on rising costs for everyday essentials. In a 2022 survey by the mobile rewards program Drop, 62% of respondents said that they are redeeming loyalty points in order to better manage expenses.
With his contract expiring, Batth approached Granger about potentially renewing his relationship with Shell. The two men had several discussions, ultimately agreeing on a 10-year contract commencing in February 2022.
One year in and it's been a “game changer,” says Batth, who owns and operates Nr Fuels & Convenience as a family business. “It’s worked out for both sides”