'Mayberry' Mindset

Bosselman's Pump & Pantry takes top ranking in expanded mystery shop study

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

CSP mystery Shop

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. -- By creating a homey experience reminiscent of that of television's fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., the 50-store Pump & Pantry chain took the No. 1 spot overall in an expanded version of the eighth annual CSP-Service Intelligence Mystery Shop survey, beating out six other chains with fewer than 150 stores.

Owned by Bosselman Holdings, Grand Island, Neb., Pump & Pantry excelled in all five major categories outlined in the study--interior and exterior cleanliness, customer service, employee appearance and merchandising.

"It's a 'Mayberry' experience," said Charlie Bosselman, president of the 65-year-old company, which also runs quick-serve restaurants, hotels and truck service centers. "We always say we're from a small community, so we reflect that in the store whether we're in a town of 400 or in Omaha."

In prior years, the survey focused on chains with more than 150 stores, with those results this year finding La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. No. 1 overall, beating out seven other chains for the top spot in that grouping.

(For more details on that half of the study, look to the August issue of CSP magazine.)

During an eight-week period this past spring, shoppers filled out questionnaires pertaining to the major survey categories, with some carrying more weight than others. They visited the stores 80 to more than 100 times during the course of the study, which means that for some chains, the same store may have been shopped more than once. A review of the results will appear in the September issue of CSP magazine.

Pump & Pantry outdistanced the pack with a 96.5% overall score. York, Pa.-based Rutter's Farm Stores (57 stores) came in second with a 92.4% overall score, followed by Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, Canastota, N.Y. (86 stores), with an 88.6% rating. The average score was 89%.

The other chains shopped in alphabetical order in this category were Folk Oil and its PS Food Marts, Homer, Mich. (31 stores); NOCO Energy Corp., Tonawanda, N.Y. (105 stores); Parker's, Savannah, Ga. (30 stores); and Ricker's, Anderson, Ind. (110 stores).

"Our readers continually express the importance of operational excellence and customer service as differentiators," said Mitch Morrison, vice president and group editor for CSP Business Media, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. "Expanding the survey to smaller chains was a way to gain better insight into a retail channel that continually strives to surprise and delight its customers."

CSP Business Media serves the news and educational needs of the convenience-retail and foodservice channels with print and online publications, as well as through year-round roundtable meetings and larger annual conferences. Its readership include top executives from major convenience store chains and restaurants to single-site, mom-and-pop operators.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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