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Stinker Stores, Nouria and Tri Star Energy Are CSP’s 2024 Mystery Shop Finalists

The 3 convenience-store chains scored 95% or better overall in the audit
2024 Mystery Shop
Image: Shutterstock

Stinker Stores, Nouria and Tri Star Energy are CSP's and Intouch Insight's 2024 Mystery Shop finalists, each bringing home an overall score above 95%. The winner and runners-up will be revealed at CSP’s Outlook Leadership Conference in August.

This year was the first Mystery Shop appearance for Tri-Star Energy, Nashville, and Stinker Stores, Boise, Idaho. Tri-Star Energy operates 162 c-stores under the Twice Daily banner, and Stinker Stores has 108 c-stores. Nouria, a 172-store chain in its third year in the Mystery Shop, is based in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

“Our 20th anniversary of the Mystery Shop is an all-time classic, with three mid-size chains capturing the top seeds,” said Mitch Morrison, vice president of retailer relations and event content director at Informa Connect, CSP's parent company. “What’s really cool is two of them—Twice Daily and Stinker’s—are new to the shop, and Nouria is in only its third year. And the other really cool factor is none of the three finalists come from traditional c-stores. All were built around fuel wholesaling and only within the last decade made the commitment to become great retailers.”

  • Nouria is No. 48 on CSP’s 2023 Top 202 list. Tri Star Energy is No. 52. Stinker Stores is No. 69. Watch for the full 2024 Top 202 ranking in the June issue of CSP magazine and in CSP Daily News.

How Are Winners Determined?

The Mystery Shop award is endowed to the best performing chain after months of revealed audits (60% of the overall score), where employees know the store is being assessed, and mystery-shop audits (40% of the overall score), where shoppers evaluate the store covertly. The annual study is completed by Intouch Insight, an Ottawa, Ontario-based data analysis firm, in partnership with CSP

2024 Results

A total of 1,003 audits were conducted between April 3 and May 9.

The audit form comprised 35 questions within nine sections: pump island, exterior, interior, restrooms, dairy cooler, fountain drinks, coffee, sandwich cooler and employees.

On average, in the revealed audit, the category that participating chains performed best in was employees. The second highest-scoring category was coffee, and the third highest-scoring category was the interior of the store.

Looking closer at the finalists, other stand-out categories for Stinker Stores, Nouria and Tri Star Energy in the revealed audit were fountain drinks and restrooms.

Covert Mystery Shop shoppers found that Stinker Stores had the best-stocked stores and clean restrooms, and Nouria and Tri Star Energy had the most reasonable noise levels inside the store.

Last Year’s Outcome

Rutter’s was the Mystery Shop award winner in 2023. For the fourth time in six years, the York, Pennsylvania-based chain of 83 stores proved its place on top, last year with a score of 97.9%.

  • Rutter’s is No. 82 on CSP’s 2023 Top 202 ranking of U.S. convenience-store chains by store count.

Click hereto read about last year’s results.

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