Upgraded technology and image has been a decadelong focus for Certified. The company previously was a widely known brand throughout five states, but it was not advanced technologically. In the past decade, Certified has trimmed stores and spent $30 million upgrading the remainder in technology and the stores’ image.

Certified has been remastering the basics of customer service, convenience, in-stock inventory, cleanliness and a revamped loyalty program called Rewards. It got into loyalty because of the economy, and because today’s consumers expect more. Certified’s Rewards program had more than 150,000 members in 60 of the chain’s convenience stores. It awards points for fuel and in-store purchases that can be redeemed with Certified, as well as with a growing number of third-party partners, such as grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters and drug stores. Also, members are entered into sweepstakes each time they use their card (once per visit), for a monthly drawing.

Among its technology changes are POS, card reader and pump upgrades; software conversions; anti-theft cameras; and the creation of a mobile app for customers.

Prototype stores are larger, female-friendly and with more space for foodservice. The company reported roughly a 50-50 split in revenue from fuel and in-store sales, but it plans for its store sales to take the lead in the future. Two new stores are slated for 2016.

Headquarters:Columbus, Ohio
No. of Stores:80
Average Store Size:1,000-2,500 sq. ft.
Rank Last Year:92
States of Operation: Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia
Family Business:Yes