Ruff Creek’s c-store model is 4,500 to 5,000 square feet, including foodservice, a drive-thru and multiple fuel islands (and often a diesel island). The store’s exterior uses HardiPlank clapboard painted red to match the logo emblem, barn lights to highlight the logo, corrugated aluminum for the window awnings and stacked stone around the base of the building and pillars. Together, these materials evoke the rural, agrarian elements of the region’s history and culture, the company said.
Inside the store, customers are greeted with a welcoming “landing zone,” which offers a sight line to the hot prepared-foods offering at the back, angled aisles with clear visibility, a 360-degree stacked refrigerated offering of fresh sandwiches and other items, and a bank of cooler doors surrounded by reclaimed wood lit by gooseneck barn lights.
The wall behind the coffee urns displays a sepia-colored mural of a covered bridge. This is an actual bridge frequently used and located in Ruff Creek, Pa., reflecting the roots of the company.
What the Experts Say
When Coen Oil started its journey to create a new brand, it began with an idea and a name. The signature covered bridge and the name Ruff Creek communicate a sense of community and good old-fashion values that was consistent with the vision of the company. The challenge was to communicate that brand promise into a design. They did exactly that. Throughout the store, you see things like stone, wood, vintage murals, plank flooring and subway tile tastefully done in a way that welcomes the customer home. The brand is further reinforced with the Ruff Creek name being applied to the deli, the coffee and throughout the store. This is an excellent example of how to execute a brand even in a small chain. —Mike Lawshe, president and CEO, Paragon Solutions