Grand Opening: Embracing the Panhandle (Slideshow)

CEFCO breaks into its 7th state with fresh prototype

Brett Giesick, Chief Retail Officer, CEFCO

Photographs by 4-D Photography

"What about the customer?” At CEFCO, that is the underlying question that factors into everything we do. “Customer” to us is defined as both our consumers and our internal team that supports our consumer needs.

By asking this question and then defining our new stores accordingly, we have created excellence for the “customer” in our new store design.

Our most recent store was designed with the input from a multi-disciplined and cross-functional internal group, which included our foodservice, marketing and store operations teams. It was critically important that this design meet the needs of our frontline employees in serving our consumer. We also leveraged the expertise of our designer, Paragon Solutions, in making significant changes from our former design.

This newest design is 2,000 square feet larger than our former design, with improvement in exterior colors, accents and lighting. On the inside, we changed virtually everything, including colors and graphics, equipment packages, restroom design and position, cold-vault size and position, and our checkout layout.

The main differences are in our foodservice area and offerings. We segmented our food offerings from the rest of the store and used subtle tile, fur down and color changes from the rest of the store to help differentiate the area. We added proprietary hot and cold grab-and-go foods and expanded our cold beverages to include store-brewed iced tea and iced coffee, as well as our private-label frozen carbonated beverages. We also changed our coffee look and included our proprietary self-service yogurt concept into this design. Most of our food and beverage offerings tie back to the overall “fresh” branding of our new design.

Getting Bigger

Although CEFCO has grown rapidly via acquisition, over the past few years we have also grown organically with more than 20 ground-up locations. Our newest prototype store is 5,500 square feet, and our travel-center prototype is more than 10,000 square feet, not counting our corporately operated QSRs that adjoin the travel center.

Going into 2015, CEFCO operated 240 stores and 18 QSRs across a six-state market. That recently changed when we opened our first location in the Florida Panhandle in May, marking a contiguous move into our seventh state. Our second and most recent store in the Panhandle is located in Crestview, Fla., and opened in late July.

Our typical new build has 16 fueling positions with a backlit canopy and LED lighting. This particular location has nearly 30 parking spaces. The canopy columns are framed with stone from top to bottom. The Crestview location includes a PDQ Tandem automatic car wash. This more than 2-acre, state-of-the-art facility has a powerful appearance and draws consumers onto our property.

Once in the store, customers are greeted with earth tones and stone finishing that replicate the decor of our exterior and surround the center of the store. Complementing these are lifestyle graphical images directing the consumer to our offerings.

We believe that best-in-class restrooms for travelers is paramount, especially as it relates to our foodservice image. We designed large, open-door restrooms, beautifully finished with stone and tile. We are so committed to providing a consistently clean and stocked restroom that we have a quality pledge from our owner in every restroom.

CONTINUED: Getting Fresh