Customers want to see themselves reflected in the places where they spend their time, and retailers are obliging with design touches that speak to the community.

Nouria Energy, Worcester, Mass., identifies a local, loved hallmark for each town where its stores are located. In Lewiston, Mass., it’s an annual balloon festival, says Joe Hamza, chief operating officer, retail and marketing, for Nouria Energy. Large photographs of air balloons decorate the retailer’s Lewiston store, along with a sign that reads, “Thank You Lewiston.”

Sometimes the community isn’t unified on what it identifies with, as was the case with Nouria’s Westboro, Mass., store, Hamza says. Instead of focusing on a landmark with this location, Nouria decorated the walls with street names, he says. It made the names of more populated street names larger.

Customizing the c-store experience for locals means sometimes building the store around the area’s pastimes. For example, at one of Holmes Oil Co.’s Cruizers stores located near a vacation fishing hotspot, API Plus incorporated a section devoted to live bait.


Global Partners’ Alltown Fresh stores reflect their local communities and traditions.