Friendly Express Updating C-Store Network

CBX design, branding initiative focuses on new approaches to convenience experience

Friendly Express Convenience Store CBX (CSP Daily News)

WAYCROSS, Ga. -- Friendly Express has enlisted global brand agency CBX to update the design and branding of its 42-store network of convenience stores in southeast Georgia.

CBX will update the chain's logo and redesign the interiors and exteriors of the convenience stores, which range in size from 2,000 to 3,500 square feet. Friendly Express c-stores, which also offer gasoline, are located in several southeastern Georgia communities, including Waycross, Jesup, Folkston, Brunswick, and St. Simons Island.

"The strategic goals here include bolstering design and branding elements of important categories and areas of the store," said Joseph Bona, president of branded environments at CBX, which has extensive experience in the energy and convenience store channel. "In particular, we will be working with the company to improve and highlight the coffee and overall foodservice experience."

This is in keeping with broader trends across the U.S. convenience store sector, in which higher-quality foodservice is one of the biggest growth areas, he added.

"Nowadays, consumers expect more from convenience stores, in part because so many players out there--names like Wawa, RaceTrac, Sheetz and Thorntons--continually seek to innovate and push the boundaries," Bona said.

But CBX will not need to create new brands from scratch: Friendly Express has already scored a hit with its loyal customers through its proprietary and locally produced DeDe's doughnut brand.

"There is an authenticity to DeDe's, and we might well incorporate elements of this story into the rebranding project," Bona said. "Today's c-stores really need to 'own' coffee and bakery and, among other improvements, we aim to help Friendly Express do precisely that."

Many of Friendly Express' rural stores already serve as community focal points where people congregate, eat and shop, noted David Weinberger, vice president and engagement director at CBX. "I visited one store that had a separate dining area, which is unusual even for many of today's best-known c-store chains," he said. "That speaks to the already strong commitment to food at Friendly Express."

"Friendly Express, which has been in business for more than 25 years, is known for its strong commitment to the communities it serves," said Joseph Bona, president of branded environments at CBX, which has extensive experience in the energy and convenience store channel. "In keeping with that commitment, the company's management team is eager to exceed customer expectations by working with CBX to adopt next-generation approaches to the c-store experience."

"Friendly Express is excited to team up with such a reputable company as CBX," said Danny Smith, CEO of Friendly Express. "They understand our business, our financial challenges and our desire to evolve without reinventing ourselves. Most importantly, they listen and they always, always ask questions to better understand what we want to be when we grow up."

Waycross, Ga.-based Friendly Express, which traces its origins to Lewis Oil Co. (now Lewis & Raulerson Inc.), has operated in southeast Georgia for more than 25 years.

CBX, New York, is a brand agency specializing in corporate identity, consumer branding and retail. Its clients have included Wawa, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Scotts Miracle-Gro, A&P, Pathmark, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Shinsagae, Radio Shack, Walgreens, BP, Aloha Petroleum and PetroChina.