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Grand Opening: Volta Oil's Strategic Repositioning

Retailer opens the first Garrett’s Family Market to reflect today’s changing consumer
Photograph by Dale Charles

MILFORD, Mass. — It’s right there in the name: Whereas Volta Oil’s 20-year-old Rapid Refill retail brand underscores speed of service, its new Garrett’s Family Market moniker is relaying something different, something fresh.

“The goal of Garrett’s Family Market was to develop a unique offering that answered today’s consumer needs,” President Peter Garrett tells CSP.

The strategy change aims to reflect current consumer trends. “[It’s] a focus on ready-to-consume fresh foods along with everyday convenience needs together with the development of several proprietary signature food items,” Garrett says.

The result is the first Volta Oil retail store named after the family that owns the company.

Family Roots

Chairman Jim Garrett acquired Plymouth, Mass.-based Volta Oil in 1976, delivering fuel across Cape Cod and operating retail sites under a variety of gasoline brands. In 2000, the company launched its own retail brand under the name Rapid Refill at Your Convenience, growing to 17 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Twenty years later, his son Peter decided it was time to rethink the brand and the stores. The result is Garrett’s Family Market, which opened in Milford, Mass., in January 2019.

The store is 5,000 square feet on 2 acres of property located on Route 85 near the ramp to Interstate 495. It offers gas and diesel from five self-serve islands and one full-serve, as well as a DEF available at the truck island. The store offer in a nutshell: “Fast, friendly service, including lottery, handcrafted beverages, fresh food items and grab-and-go, both hot and cold items,” Garrett says.

Volta Oil worked with design firm The Moseley Group from nearby Franklin, Mass., to bring a New England feel to the store with characteristics such as wood textures. “The color palette associated with the brand has a coastal and New England feel,” Garrett says. Colors include greens, gray and blue-gray.

Foodservice Focus

Inside the store, in front of the entrance, a two-sided checkout area is stocked with candy, snacks, energy shots and cigarette lighters.

Graphic lettering on the walls provides cues to help customers find what they are looking for quickly: “tasty” above the foodservice area, “cool” above the cold vault and “brrr” above the freezer doors.

From the foodservice counter, customers can grab sandwiches, salads, fruit and a variety of desserts. They also can select made-to-order foods from the menu, such as calzones, chili dogs and fried chicken bites.

“Garrett’s is heavily involved in foodservice to give the customer a feeling of a market and fresh food,” Garrett says.

At the fountain, in addition to major carbonated dispensed beverage brands, customers can pour themselves flavored sparkling waters, fresh-brewed teas and craft sodas.

The store also is home to a Dunkin’ brand quick-service restaurant, one of the first in the country since Dunkin’ Donuts renamed itself in January 2019.

“We have a great relationship with our branded partner Dunkin’,” Garrett says. “We feature their new Dunkin’ image complete with a drive-up window. Their concept includes a nitro-brew coffeehouse tap system.”

“The goal ... was to develop a unique offering that answered today’s consumer needs.”

Elsewhere in the store, wooden gondolas offer a variety of groceries, cellphone accessories, packaged snacks and candy, including natural snacks for the healthy-minded.

A 16-door cold vault stocks essential beverages, from single-serve energy drinks and carbonated soft drinks to gallons of bottled water and a full shelf of CBD beverages.

Outside, there’s a patio with tables providing seating for up to 16.

The store opened just months after the town council changed a bylaw that had allowed only full-service gas stations, making Garrett’s Family Market “the first self-serve convenience store in the town of Milford,” Garrett says. “Our typical customers are traditional road warriors, fleet customers, soccer moms and working professionals. Our fresh food, Dunkin’ offering, diesel islands and outdoor patio seating make us stand out from our competition.”

And a second store in this model is coming soon on Cape Cod, set to open in late spring 2020. “Long term, we will evaluate the success of Garrett’s Family Market and potentially build additional stores and/or convert existing Rapid Refill stores [to this model],” Garrett says.

STORE STATS

Garrett’s Family Market

Size: 5,000 square feet on a 2-acre lot

Address: 111 Cedar St., Milford, Mass.

Fueling spots: 10 fueling positions, plus two truck diesel islands

Opened: January 2019

Notable details:

  • Foodservice focus
  • New Dunkin’ image, including drive-thru
  • New England feel
  • Indoor and outdoor seating

Click here to view related slideshow.

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