In a consolidating industry, lack of scale puts a retailer at a disadvantage, especially in an environment where costs of doing business are steadily rising, says Joe Hamza. So Nouria Energy, which owns and operates 118 stores in New England, has a vision for growth that includes allocating resources for new builds combined with an eye toward targeted or opportunistic acquisitions.
“Construction of new builds and real estate costs have been rising steadily in the past few years, especially as we look to build larger stores on bigger locations,” says Hamza, who has been with Nouria Energy since 2015. “That’s why new builds must pass a rigorous due diligence process before they get the go-ahead. The No. 1 determinant in our decision process for new builds is the extent of the opportunity. We recently built a very profitable 2,800-square-foot store on a 30,000-square-foot lot. But ideally, we’d like to build 5,000-square-foot stores on lots of 65,000 square feet or bigger.”
Nouria’s new store concept emphasizes enhancing the customer experience. “The unique brand architecture, modern in-store design and color scheme coupled with brighter, more spacious layout and community-inspired graphics are intended to deliver on that objective,” Hamza says. Product offerings include fresh and made-to-order foods, grocery and better-for-you snacks and beverages and take-home meals.
“We also included amenities such as indoor and outdoor seating areas and Wi-Fi as a means of inviting customers to relax and enjoy their meals,” Hamza says. “We are also investing in technologies that would make transactions in the stores speedier and more efficient.”
Acquisitions also will have a role in Nouria’s growth story: The company focuses on potential.
“We don’t just focus on its current business state,” Hamza says, “but we also try to identify specific strategic opportunities that can be created and realized by the deal.”