And the Winners Are

Casey's, Huck's and Rutter's receive CSP's Outlook Awards

SALT LAKE CITY -- CSP Information Group was proud to present its Outlook Awards to three upstanding convenience store retailers during the Outlook Leadership Conference, which wrapped up yesterday in Salt Lake City.

The 2005 awards were given Tuesday night to Casey's General Stores for Operational Excellence; Huck's Food and Fuel for Customer Service; and Rutter's Farm Stores for Community Involvement.

For a mid-sized company, York, Pa.-based Rutter's has made a big splash among the charitable causes in its markets. In addition [image-nocss] to making nearly weekly donations of products from its convenience stores and its dairy operation, the 50-store company digs deep and contributes about $200,000 a year to various charities, with a focus on helping children live better lives.

Todd Rutter, president of Rutter's Dairy, another of the Rutter family businesses, said the company makes donations because it's just part of the culture we were brought up in. We don't know a way to do business without being visible in the community through donations and participation in charity events.

Meanwhile, you can't walk into a Carmi, Ill.-based Huck's convenience store without knowing that customers come first there. Messages touting the company's Total Customer Focus program are everywhere, from Lance Armstrong-style wrist bracelets to lapel pins, posters to mouse pads, employee smiles to door exit signs. Even the clock say's it's time for excellent service.

Waiting in line stinks! and We make it right, guaranteed are slogans backed by ongoing training programs, moral-boosting incentives and store-level empowerment.

We asked ourselves: Hey, are we willing to lose a customer over a gallon of milk or a car wash? said Todd Jenney, vice president of operations for Huck's. Some of the things people lose customers over are ridiculous.

Finally, a high level of expectation has become the way of doing business at Ankeny, Ohio-based Casey's. It shows in everything Casey's does, from foodservice to customer service and, perhaps most importantly, store operations.

We can go back 35 years ago, when we had only one store, and our policies then were keep clean, well-organized stores and good employees, keep oil off the drive, keep your pumps clean, keep the restrooms clean, says CEO Ron Lamb. That's what the public looks for.

More information about all three award winners will be presented in the October issue of CSP Magazine.