FREMONT, Ohio -- FriendShip Food Stores has earned local recognition for its customer service and coffee program.
The Beacon News honored the Fremont, Ohio-based convenience store with an award for best customer service among businesses in Ottawa County, Ohio. The newspaper also honored FriendShip for having the best c-store coffee and as the second-best coffee purveyor among all retailers and restaurants.
“Over the past five years, we have taken our commitment to customer service to entirely new levels, and our loyal customers have clearly noticed the way our store hosts are delivering on our promise,” said Kevin Campbell, director of marketing for FriendShip. “Many companies talk about customer service, but we work on it and talk about it every day. In fact, we just held our annual banquet to celebrate the amazing ways our retail hosts consistently delight our guests by providing them with 'wicked awesome customer service.' ”
The c-store chain updated its coffee offerings with a focus on fresh. The drip coffee is made with freshly ground beans hand-picked from mountainside coffee farms. “We have completely revamped our coffee program over the past year, evaluating and modifying our entire supply chain,” said Ed Burcher, vice president of foodservice. “We are now grinding beans in-store, rotating our limited-time offers more consistently and have changed most equipment to enable us to brew a tastier, more consistent cup of coffee that delights our guests.”
This summer FriendShip unveiled its new foodservice concept, FriendShip Kitchen. During the grand-opening festivities, the chain gave away free coffee and cappuccinos to customers, and customers received free travel mugs. The proprietary restaurant features the retailer’s hand-breaded chicken, burritos, pizza and breakfast sandwiches.
FriendShip is the retail division of Beck Suppliers Inc., a vertically integrated retail and wholesale petroleum marketer. It has approximately 30 stores.
On July 26, Brian Beck, co-owner and leader of parent company Beck Suppliers Inc.’s convenience-store division, began the festivities with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. FriendShip Stores invited several local leaders, including Tony Gallo, president of the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce; Brenda Davis, an Elyria City Council member; and Lori Kokoski, Lorain County Commissioner, to the event.
At the new store, the company unveiled its proprietary FriendShip Kitchen restaurant. For the past year, the company had been developing the freshly prepared menu items, such as hand-breaded chicken, said Ed Burcher, vice president of foodservice.
“There really is something for everyone all through the day—from oven-baked breakfast pizza, stuffed burritos and egg sandwiches for breakfast, paired with coffee made from premium roasted beans, to lunch and dinner choices that range from salads to sandwiches, pizza and FriendShip’s signature hand-breaded chicken,” Burcher said.
For the opening, FriendShip touted "11 Days of Deals." The store gave away free coffee and cappuccinos, sampled products and rolled out FriendShip Kitchen specials, including a promotion July 26-29 during which the first 100 guests each day received a free FriendShip Stores travel mug and were entered to win a free chicken dinner each week for a year. Customers could also put their names in to win free gas for a year.
The c-store also hosted live radio broadcasts.
Founded by Virgil Beck in 1950, Fremont, Ohio-based Beck Suppliers is a family-owned and -operated retail and wholesale petroleum marketer. The company distributes Marathon, Sunoco, BP and Shell motor fuels to independent retailers as well as to its company-operated FriendShip Store locations. Beck Suppliers also distributes propane and heating oil to thousands of Midwest homes and businesses.