INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. — Energy and agriculture company CHS is launching a Lighting, Image and Facilities Transformation (LIFT) project to help its convenience-store owners and operators upgrade their Cenex-branded stores inside and out. The initiative officially begins Sept. 1, 2020.
Most of Cenex’s network of 1,400 stores are locally owned and operated businesses, and launching the LIFT initiative to help those businesses upgrade their image has been an 18-month process, according to Akhtar Hussain, director of refined fuels marketing for Cenex.
“It’s important to us to make sure that we have a brand that is going to be relevant for consumers for the long run. We think that an investment in the Cenex brand could be right for a lot of local business owners,” said Hussain.
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The new imaging for Cenex stores’ forecourt, dubbed Halo, focuses squarely on the canopy and how it affects the total forecourt image, according to Hussain, who said the LIFT program is an opportunity to “modernize and freshen” stores’ forecourt imaging through illumination.
The canopy remodel includes a 360-degree red light bar on the canopy’s perimeter, a back-lit blue arch and new three-dimensional Cenex logos. It places “a large emphasis on lighting and illumination, which we think is so critical to drawing attention to our image from a consumer driving on the road,” said Hussain.
The LIFT Initiative lends a hand to Cenex store owners who choose to undergo in-store projects.
“Our local owners are the ones that run that inside business, so we wanted to provide resources but not go at them with a heavy hand with a lot of requirements, so what we’ve come up with is a program that offers interest-free financing for five years for those local owners to refresh and remodel their stores,” said Hussain.
That funding covers most any remodeling project an owner might have in mind, from a complete raze and rebuild to a restroom remodel or new flooring.
Calling in the experts
In addition to financial resources, Cenex is offering advice and support for any project enacted under the LIFT Initiative. Assistance includes regional consultants to help owners design their remodel or to discuss what project might have the biggest return on investment. Cenex also has connections to foodservice providers and preferred venders offering discounts on preferred remodeling projects, according to Hussain.
“By connecting these dots for our retailers, we’re hoping that we have a really easy-to-engage-with program that’s not so intimidating for folks when they’re making these large decisions,” said Hussain.