LOUISIANA, Mo.—In 1940, three brothers bought a Shell station. While World War II interrupted their plans, soon Ray, Charlie and Alfred Abel were back home and expanding Abel’s Quik Shop from one store to eventually the 18 locations there are today, Lincoln News Now! reports.
In its eight decades of existence, Abel’s grew from the original three owners to 220 workers and a bulk fuel plant in Louisiana, Mo. The company also kept up with new technology. “You needed to change to keep the doors open,” said Randy Anderson, Abel’s vice president. “You have to give the public what it wants. The whole world was moving away from cash (transactions). … It’s just part of the migration and lends itself to exactly what we are—a convenience store.”
Abel’s offers a fuels reward card that ties in-store purchases with fuel discounts. “It’s a great program, and so easy to use,” Anderson said. “It’s a real value added program that everyone should take advantage of. I mean you don’t have to do anything to get at least five cents a gallon off.”
The company also partnered with QSRs like Subway and McDonald’s to provide fresh foodservice, and one location has a full deli inside the store. The pandemic didn’t slow down Abel’s business. While fuel sales dipped for a time, inside store sales skyrocketed.
But it’s the service that has brought customers back over the years. “Hire good people, train them well and provide them an environment where they can grow,” Anderson said. “Our store associates and managers deal with the customers on the front line. They make the company. They are our largest investment.”
It isn’t uncommon to see c-stores stay in the same hands for decades. In March, for instance, Glenn and Rose Ann Seutter retired after running a convenience store in Minnetonka, Minn., for nearly five decades, stating a common sentiment for many convenience store owners: "It was something I enjoyed going to every single day. It wasn't work; it was fun."
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