ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumer needs have shifted profoundly over the past several years, with shoppers seeking a greater sense of fulfillment when stepping foot inside a store. One retailer, Cenex, the energy brand of CHS, works to keep the 90-year-old brand fresh at its nearly 1,500 locations.
This year, CHS announced a four-year initiative called LIFT (lighting, image and facility transformation) for its Cenex stores. “It’s designed to revamp Cenex c-stores through a series of exterior and interior updates,” said Akhtar Hussain, director of refined fuels marketing at CHS, on this week’s Convenience Matters, “Deliver More Convenience With a Store Refresh.” “We’re really talking about the customer experience and what is going to bring people back to Cenex stores the next time they’re considering stopping at a convenience store.”
Cenex’s LIFT initiative gives its retailers the flexibility to renovate their stores in a way that makes sense for their location. “Part of being local is understanding that the types of stores that serve these local communities are very different,” he said. “We aren’t a cookie-cutter sort of convenience brand that puts up certain size boxes everywhere and has a very standardized footprint. We vary in size; we vary in scope, so we needed to come [up] with a program that allowed us to maintain forecourt brand consistency but gave folks some flexibility as to how they went about improving the in-store experience.”
Through LIFT, Cenex is able to ensure consistent forecourt branding and signage but also allow each store to promote its place in the community. For example, the company decided one major change would be in its lighting by switching to LED light bands to highlight the logo. “It’s adding that illumination that really makes the image pop at night and grab the attention of those consumers on the street. And again, we hope that that drives them in the store as well,” Hussain said. Currently, Cenex estimates it will revamp between 300 and 325 sites per year over the next four years.
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To see Cenex forecourt and store photos and learn more about the LIFT initiative, read “Face LIFT” in the May issue of NACS Magazine.