When Varish Goyal and the leadership team at AU Energy, Loop Neighborhood Markets’ parent company, decided to design its own brand for a new store concept in 2010, they thought a lot about who they wanted to be—and who their customers would be. Those thoughts turned to concept, and the stylish Loop Neighborhood chain was born.

The first Loop store opened in June 2013, bringing with it a fresh feel with a vibrant orange hue and modern design touches, an aspirational product mix including wine and a salad bar, and the arduous, stake-in-the-ground designation as a member of the Partnership for a Healthier America.

Since the concept launched, Loop has expanded with a mobile app and loyalty program and developed a smaller-footprint concept, Lil’ Loop.

When asked about his own success, Goyal is quick to give others credit, particularly his study group.

“Not only are the members of our group thought leaders for the industry, they are great people who everyone should get to know,” he says. “I owe much of our business success to their advice.”

Despite the counsel he has received from c-store heavyweights such as Greg Parker of Parker’s, Dave Carpenter of J.D. Carpenter Cos., Quinn Ricker of Ricker Oil and others, Goyal’s success is due in large part to his vision: an audacious belief that a convenience store can be beautifully designed and stocked with an assortment of high-quality, healthy products, all in a small footprint. That growth mindset seems to come from a sense of community and family, which for Goyal comes in the form of advocacy via the NACS Research Committee, his study group and YPO, an organization for chief executives.

But more than anything, his success lies squarely in his conviction in the industry itself.

“The industry needs to continue investing in their stores,” he says. “This is the best way for us to defend our turf.”

23—Loop Neighborhood Markets locations