NACS Show Is Still on!

Last updated 7/17/2022: Official NACS Show housing and registration is now open. The Show is still a number of months away, but our preparedness plans are evolving daily in light of new guidance on COVID-19.  Check back here for more information, or goto: for the latest new.

We're In Booth W65A



Latest Updates

meters showing high octane rating effect

Understanding Gasoline Octane Ratings

For many drivers, choosing the right type of gasoline for their vehicle can be a confusing process. With terms like “premium,” “regular,” and “octane rating” thrown around, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. One term that often causes confusion is octane rating. While many people believe that higher octane gasoline means better fuel quality, the truth is that octane rating is more about a fuel’s ability to resist knocking. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at gasoline octane ratings and what they mean for your car’s engine.

What are Octane Ratings?

Octane ratings are determined through a test called the Research Octane Number (RON). The higher the number, the more resistant the fuel is to knocking. In the United States, most gasoline pumps display two octane ratings: the RON and the Motor Octane Number (MON). The average of these two numbers is called the Anti-Knock Index (AKI), which is the number you should use when determining which fuel to use in your vehicle.

How Octane Ratings Affect Your Vehicle

Engine knocking can be prevented with higher octane ratings. It’s important to note, however, that using a higher octane fuel than recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer can actually decrease your fuel efficiency and increase your emissions. Using a lower octane fuel than recommended can cause engine knocking, which can lead to expensive repairs.

Misconceptions about Higher Octane Fuel Improving Performance

Some people mistakenly believe that using a higher octane fuel will improve their vehicle’s performance. This is not necessarily true, as the octane rating does not affect the fuel’s energy content or its ability to improve performance. In fact, using a higher octane fuel than recommended can actually decrease your vehicle’s performance.

Instances Where Higher Octane Fuel May Be Necessary

In some cases, higher octane fuel may be necessary. For example, if you have a high-performance engine or you frequently tow heavy loads, your vehicle may require a higher octane fuel. If you notice the engine knocking or pinging, it’s important to switch to a higher-octane fuel as soon as possible to prevent engine damage.

Factors Affecting Octane Requirements

There are a few other factors to consider when determining which octane rating to use. For example, if you’re driving in a high altitude or hot climate, you may need to use a higher octane fuel. The type of engine you have can also impact your octane requirements. Turbocharged or supercharged engines may require a higher octane fuel.

Choosing the Right Octane Rating

It’s important to follow your vehicle’s manufacturer recommendations when choosing the right octane rating. You should choose the lowest octane rating recommended for your vehicle to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize emissions. However, there may be instances where a higher octane fuel is necessary, such as when you’re driving in extreme conditions or have a high-performance engine.


In conclusion, understanding gasoline octane ratings is important for car owners to ensure their engines are running smoothly and efficiently. Remember that higher octane ratings do not necessarily mean better fuel quality, but rather a fuel’s ability to resist knocking. When in doubt, refer to your car’s owner’s manual for the recommended octane rating and always purchase gasoline from a reputable gas station. By following these guidelines, you can ensure the longevity and performance of your vehicle’s engine.
Modern car details, closed fuel cap

Is There A Place For Diesel In An Electric Future?

Thanks to the stalwart reliability of the diesel engine and it’s inherent lack of flammability diesel fuel at normal temperatures, this type of fuel has been a staple in the transportation and commercial industries for years. However its future in the US is somewhat uncertain due to the rise of alternative fuel sources. While electric vehicles may decrease the demand for diesel, the commercial industry is still likely to rely on diesel engines for years to come for their durability, reliability, and fuel efficiency. Convenience store owners can prepare for the changing landscape by offering both diesel and electric charging options to cater to a wider range of customers. In this article, we will discuss the future of diesel fuel in the US and its continued popularity in the commercial industry, as well as the advantages of diesel engines and how convenience store owners can stay ahead in the changing market. Gas stations and convenience store owners nowadays have a tough job of being nearly everything to everyone. Customer now expect a convenience store to offer fresh fruit, a wide array of drink hot and cold, clean and spacious restrooms, and even fresh vegetables with the standard candy bar options – and that’s just inside the premises. On top of that, each location needs to accommodate a number of different customers. For those with fuel pumps, a convenience store should be expected to service commercial trucks, local service-based workers like those in the towing service or heating and cooler sector, weekend traveler, teenagers, and everyone else in between. Undeserving one customer segment can open the store up to unwanted competition in an already high-competitive industry. With the very real potential of 35% of electric cars on the road by 2050, convenience store owners with fuel pumps need to have a plan in place to adjust their strategy while not ignoring current high-margin customers that utilize diesel fuel. How they address the shift will depend on several factors such as the location of their store, the demographics of their customers, and the current market trends. For example, if a store is located in an area where diesel trucks and buses are still widely used, it may make sense to dedicate some of their pumps to diesel. On the other hand, if the store is located in a heavily populated urban area, it may be more beneficial to install electric charging stations to cater to the growing number of electric vehicle owners. In possible, convenience store owners with fuel pumps should consider offering both diesel and electric charging options to cater to a wider range of customers and maximize their profits. The key is to stay informed about the latest market trends and technological advancements, and be proactive in adapting to the changing needs of customers.

Why Diesel Isn’t Going Anywhere, Anytime Soon

One of the biggest advantages of diesel engines is their longevity. Unlike gasoline engines, diesel engines tend to last much longer and require less maintenance, making them an attractive option for fleet managers and business owners. This is particularly true for heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses, which need to run smoothly and efficiently over long distances and heavy loads. Another advantage of diesel engines is their fuel efficiency. Diesel fuel has a higher energy density compared to gasoline, meaning that vehicles with diesel engines can travel further on the same amount of fuel. This makes diesel engines particularly suitable for long-haul trips, where fuel efficiency is key to reducing operating costs.
“I really can’t see an electric tow truck that can do what this thing does, and still be cost competitive on cost.”
Even if there were an alternative available, many service-based businesses are hesitant to make the switch. Take for example, Sunny Day Towing Company, a tow truck service in Charlotte NC, and frequent customer of the Speedway location on North Tryon Road in Charlotte. “Our tow truck is a very expensive piece of equipment, and I absolutely need to keep this thing running for as long as possible to put food on the table. Even with another type of truck that’s more efficient, I would still need to keep this truck running due to the significant investment we’ve already committed.”, says owner JT Thompson. Asked how much he has invested in the vehicle, “It cost our business over $130,000. And that was four years ago.” Additionally, diesel engines are known for their superior performance and power, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks like towing, hauling, and transporting goods. This is why diesel engines are still widely used in the transportation and logistics industry, where performance and reliability are critical to the success of businesses. “I really can’t see an electric tow truck that can do what this thing does, and still be cost competitive on cost.” While electric vehicles are diesel engines are likely to remain popular in the commercial industry in the near future due to their longevity, fuel efficiency, and superior performance. While electric vehicles may gain traction in certain segments of the market, diesel engines will continue to play an important role in the transportation and logistics industry for many years to come. Convenience store owners who cater to the needs of commercial customers should consider offering diesel fuel at their locations to meet the ongoing demand for this popular fuel source.
man refueling in a gas station

More Profit For Gas Stations? Here’s How

As a gas station owner, you should always be on the lookout for ways how to make your gas station business more profitable. It is very important to make sure that you come up with various ways to help boost your profit or level up your business. One of the best ways is to improve your services. However, sometimes we might run out of ideas on what to do. We are here to help you by giving you some tips on what to do.

Profit From A Convenience Store

One of the best things to do to add more profit to your gas station is to make sure you have a convenience store. This store can help you to capitalize on impulse buys and provide customers with various items they may not have thought of purchasing when they first pulled up to the station. Having snacks, beverages, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and other items in your convenience store could help bring in more profits for your gas station business.

Offer Rewards Programs

Another great way to get more profit for your gas station is to offer rewards programs. These rewards programs reward customers for making purchases at your gas station and allow them to save money or earn points towards free products. You can also encourage repeat customers by offering loyalty cards that give discounts or coupons whenever they visit your location.

Improve Your Customer Service

Having good customer service is one of the best ways to increase your profits. By providing great service and offering customer-friendly policies, you will be able to build trust with customers which can lead to more sales. Make sure that you are friendly, helpful, and always willing to listen when customers have questions or comments. Also, having a clean restroom, good lighting in the store, and making sure the pumps are working properly could all go a long way toward improving customer satisfaction.

Update Your Offers & Prices

Finally, make sure you keep your offers and prices up-to-date. If your gas station has been around for many years, it may be time to update some of your older promotions or adjust prices accordingly based on market trends. Doing this could help you drive more profit to your location.

Sell Lottery Tickets

Another great way to make an extra profit is to sell lottery tickets. This could be a great option, especially if you are located in an area with high demand for these services. You can even consider offering special promotions such as discounts and giveaways for regular customers who purchase lottery tickets from your station.

Always Stock On Inventory

Make sure you always stock up on inventory. This could help ensure that you have enough supplies for customers when they come to your station. Having a well-stocked store could also give customers the impression that you are reliable and can provide them with what they need.

Follow Your Working Hours

Make sure to follow your working hours. This will help ensure that customers know when they can expect you to be open and available for service. Having consistent working hours could also help build trust with customers as they will know that you are reliable and dedicated to providing them with the best experience possible. So if you promote to the public that you operate 24 hours a day, then you should be open 24 hours a day. With that, your customers will be able to remember you at the specific time when they need to refuel. Some may even make it a habit to refuel at your gas station at a certain time of day because they know that you are open and ready to serve them.

Improve Security And Safety

Finally, make sure that you have security and safety measures in place. Having a well-lit gas station with cameras and other safety features can help deter potential criminals and provide customers with peace of mind when they visit your location. This will increase profits because customers will be more comfortable going to your gas station. Plus your employees will be safe and you won’t lose anything to possible criminals. By implementing these strategies, you can be sure to increase the profit of your gas station business in no time! So, make sure to put these tips into action and start increasing your revenue today!
safety measures in gas station

Safety Measures All Gas Station Owners Should Take

As a gas station owner, you are responsible for the whole gas station. You’re not just going to sit around behind a desk and wait for profit. There are many decisions that you need to make. Each of those decisions can help your business succeed or fail. One of the things that you should keep in mind when running your gas station is safety. Not only should you be concerned about the safety of your clients but also the safety of your employees as well. Safety measures should always be thought of and put in place. Some of these safety measures are common sense, while others may be less obvious. By following these tips, you can help keep your business running safely and smoothly.

1. Keep your gas station clean and organized

One of the first things that need to be done is to keep your gas station clean and organized. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important. A gas station that is cluttered and dirty is not only an eyesore, but it can also be dangerous. Spills and leaks are more likely to happen in a messy environment. Furthermore, customers will be less likely to visit a gas station that looks unkempt.

2. Inspect your equipment regularly

It’s important to inspect your equipment on a regular basis. This includes checking for leaks, cracks, and wear and tear. If you notice any damage, make sure to fix it immediately. Allowing damaged equipment to remain in use can lead to accidents.

3. Have a fire extinguisher on hand

A fire extinguisher is a must-have in any business, but it’s especially important in a gas station. Gasoline is highly flammable, so it’s important to be prepared for a fire. Make sure that your extinguisher is easily accessible, is of the right type,  and that all of your employees know how to use it.

4. Post clear signs

Clear signs are important for both safety and liability reasons. When it comes to safety, you want to make sure that everyone knows where the exits are located. You also want to post warning signs about potential hazards. For liability reasons, you’ll want to post signs that disclaim responsibility for accidents or injuries.

5. Train your employees

It’s crucial that you train your employees on how to safely handle and use the equipment in your gas station. They should also be familiar with the procedures for dealing with accidents and emergencies. Periodic training sessions can help to ensure that everyone is up-to-date on the latest safety protocols.

6. Implement security measures

Security cameras and alarms can deter crime and help to keep your gas station safe. If you do have an incident, security footage can be used as evidence. Furthermore, having a visible security presence will make potential criminals think twice before targeting your business.

7. Get insurance

Insurance is a must for any business, but it’s especially important for a gas station. Gasoline is a dangerous substance, so you need to be protected in case of an accident. Make sure that you have both liability and property damage coverage.

8. Regularly check fuel levels and tanks

It’s important to regularly check the fuel levels and tanks. This will help you to avoid running out of gas and having to close your station. It will also help you to identify any leaks or other issues with your tanks.

9. Have an emergency plan

You should have a plan in place for dealing with emergencies. This plan should include procedures for evacuating the premises and contacting authorities. Make sure that all of your employees are familiar with the plan and know what their roles are.

10. Stay up-to-date on safety regulations

The safety regulations for gas stations can change from time to time. It’s important to stay up-to-date on these changes so that you can make sure that your business is in compliance. Failing to do so could result in costly fines or even the closure of your business. By following these tips, you can create a safe environment for both your employees and customers. Gasoline is a dangerous substance, but with proper precautions, it can be handled safely. Remember to keep your gas station clean, inspect your equipment regularly, post clear signs, train your employees, and implement security measures. By taking these steps, you can help to avoid accidents and ensure that your business runs smoothly.
man buying chips at a convenience store

The Benefits Of Having A Convenience Store In Your Gas Station

It’s no secret that gas stations are a necessary part of our society. We need them to fuel our cars and keep us moving. But what many people don’t know is that gas stations are also a great place to buy snacks, drinks, and other items we may have forgotten to pack.

Most gas stations have convenience stores in them to make various products accessible to whoever needs them. Whether they are travelers on the road who want a snack or those who live near the vicinity of the gas station. They provide various benefits not only for people who buy from them but also for the owner of the gas station too.

What are the benefits of having a convenience store in your gas station?

The first benefit of having a convenience store in your gas station is that it offers travelers a place to buy snacks, drinks, and other items they may have forgotten to pack. We’ve all been there before- we’re on a long road trip and we realize we forgot to pack some essential items. Whether it’s water, chapstick, or snacks, a convenience store in a gas station can save the day.

The second benefit of having a convenience store in your gas station is that it provides a place for people to buy items they may need in a hurry. We’ve all had those moments where we realized we need milk or bread and we don’t want to make an extra stop just for that. A convenience store in a gas station can provide us with those items without making us go out of our way.

The third and final benefit of having a convenience store in your gas station is that it serves as a valuable source of income for the business owner. Not only do convenience stores provide a service to customers, but they also generate revenue for the business. This is important because it helps to keep the gas station running smoothly and efficiently.

What items are typically found in a convenience store?

There are a wide variety of items that can be found in a convenience store. The most common items include snacks, drinks, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. However, some convenience stores also sell hot food, such as pizza or chicken wings. They may also sell some basic necessities, such as toiletries and over-the-counter medications.

Since they’re usually open late, they can come in handy if you need to buy something after regular store hours. If you’re looking for a quick snack or a beverage, the convenience store in your local gas station is a great option. Be sure to check out the prices before you make a purchase, though; sometimes they can be a bit high compared to other convenience stores.

start a gas station business

Things To Know Before Starting A Gas Station

Owning a gas station can be a very profitable business. Not only is it a necessary part of every community, but people will always need gasoline to power their cars. However, there are some things you need to know before you get started. In this article, we will discuss the basics of owning and operating a gas station. We will also provide some tips for success. So if you’re thinking about starting your own gas station, then read on!

What You Should Know Before Starting A Gas Station

It Is Regulated By The Government

The first thing you need to know is that gas stations are regulated by the government. This means that there are certain rules and regulations that you must follow in order to operate your business legally. You will need to obtain a license from the state in which you plan to operate your gas station. In addition, you will need to have insurance in place to protect yourself and your customers.

Gas Prices Constantly Change

Another important thing to keep in mind is that gas prices are constantly changing. This means that you need to be prepared for fluctuations in the market. You will need to have a good understanding of the pricing trends in your area so that you can adjust your prices accordingly. It’s also important to keep an eye on your competition so that you can undercut them when necessary.

Consider Your Customer’s Needs And Wants

In order to be successful, it’s also important to understand the needs and desires of your customers. This means that you need to provide a quality customer experience from beginning to end. You should aim to make your gas station as easy and convenient for your customers as possible. Some ways that you can do this include offering free Wi-Fi in your waiting area, keeping your store well-stocked with snacks and drinks, and having clean bathrooms available for use by customers.

Starting Your Own Gas Station

If you are serious about starting a gas station, then there are certain steps that you will need to take in order to get started. The first step is finding a good location for your business. Ideally, you should look for an area where there is heavy traffic and a lot of people passing by. You should also look for an area where there is little to no competition. Once you have selected a location, it’s then time to apply for the necessary permits and licenses from your local government. In some cases, this may require that you hire an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the process. You will also need to invest in insurance so that you are protected in the event of any accidents or injuries at your gas station. If you prepare yourself well and follow these tips, then starting a gas station is something that can be very profitable for you in the long run. By understanding your customers’ needs, operating legally within the government regulations, and carefully watching market trends, you can greatly increase your chances for success.
woman at a gas station

Factors That Make Customers Choose Your Gas Station

As a gas station owner, it is in your best interest to know what runs through the mind of your customers or potential customers. If you know what makes them choose you, then you’ll know what aspects to focus on and improve. Do you want to attract more customers to patronize your gas station? Do you want more potential customers to give your gas station a chance and to try out your products and services? Let’s delve into the minds and customers and help you figure those things out. Shall we?

Main Factors That Customers Consider When Choosing A Gas Station

Have you ever wondered why some car owners choose to have their tank refilled at your gas station? What is exactly the reason that they do? Do you just happen to be in the right place when they run out of fuel? That could be one of the factors. If they really need gas, then they’ll really fill up out of need. But aside from that, there are still other factors that make them consider refueling at your gas station.


There are several factors that may influence a customer’s decision to buy gasoline. When it comes to price, you must remember that gas prices fluctuate depending on the market and according to the day-to-day conditions of supply and demand. Generally, customers just want cheap gas as long as they can get it at a station near their homes.

Hours of Operation

Customers want to ensure that the gas station they choose is open when they need it, so convenience plays a big factor in where they choose to purchase their gas. It is also convenient if your prices are competitive enough to make them not second-guess whether or not they should buy from you.


If you own a gas station on a busy road filled with cars passing by, then location is one of your best factors. That shows customers that you’re a viable business and that more people patronize your establishment compared to those who have been hidden away or tucked somewhere inconveniently off the beaten path.

Quality of Products Offered

Another reason why customers choose certain gasoline stations over others is the quality of products they can purchase. If customers are looking for gas, but also want to take advantage of your other services—such as snacks or car washes—then you have given them a great incentive to stop at your place instead of others.

Customer Service

Customers look for customer service any time they make a decision on where to buy something, particularly when it comes to spending their money on smaller purchases like gasoline. You never know if you’ll need help with making the right choice about gas or even which kind is better for their cars-regular grade or premium? With an attentive and helpful staff, customers’ confidence in you will be greatly boosted.

Tips For Gas Station Owners

Location is key

There should be lots of cars driving past your establishment every day for people to see what you’re selling. You can even offer incentives such as free car washes or snacks if they buy from you regularly.

Great Customer Service

Make sure that your customers receive good customer service so they will go out of their way to come back and buy from you again. Don’t lose sight of the fact that it isn’t just about keeping customers happy—you also need to keep them coming back! When customers are satisfied with your business, they will keep coming back even if it means having to drive further for gas.

Multiple Price Options

You need to be flexible when it comes to price. Not everybody has the same budget so you should offer multiple options at different prices. Make sure that you’re competitive enough compared to other gasoline stations out there (and online, too!)

Diversified Products And Services

If possible, diversify your services and products offered. The more choices that you give customers, the better chance you have of winning their loyalty. You never know what kind of service or product people want until they come in and try them out!
drepressed man cries on gas station due to high gas prices

Gasoline Prices Are Unusually Rising This Time Of Year: Here’s What You Can Do

Have you checked the price of gasoline recently? It’s still high and getting higher. Usually, at this time of year, the price of gasoline typically lowers down. However, that isn’t the case for this year.

The Unusual Price Hike

If you’ve been driving your car for years, you’ll notice a pattern with the gas prices. At this time of year, they usually go down a bit because the summer travel season is over. However, at this time, we can see that the prices are still going up. This is due to the continuously increasing oil price. Currently, it’s about $80 a barrel, which was previously at $60 in August.

Why Is Oil Causing The Price Hike?

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided to stop increasing oil production. Their goal here is to build up a supply to lower the prices while the world is in economic recovery. To put it simply, countries that export oil like Saudi Arabia aren’t getting more of the oil from the ground. This keeps the supply of oil all over the world at a low level and the price high due to the demand. In recent years, there has been a decline in OPEC’s influence in the oil market. That’s because there are other countries that also produce oil such as the US. However, as of the moment, the oil producers in the US haven’t increased production that quickly. That’s because there is still fear that their fossil fuel investment isn’t a good decision at all. Furthermore, there is also an increase in the demand for oil as energy companies face natural gas prices spiking. They are considering turning to oil as their source of heat instead of natural gas. That demand also affects the supply chain and also helps increase the price of gas.

What Is The U.S. Doing About It?

The Biden administration is frustrated at the current rising gas prices. It is possible that the Department of Energy would release crude oil to help ease up the prices. The oil would come from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve which can be used in case of emergencies. However, some analysts fear that it may not have a big impact. They estimate that it may only lower down the price of a barrel of oil for about $3.

How To Cope-Up With Higher Gas Prices

Experts believe that the price hike for gas may not be permanent because the supply is continuously growing. There’d be a time when the supply will meet or even outgrow the demand. However, it is still best to know how to cope up when the gas prices are up. The tips you’ll find below are great ways to save on gas whether the prices are at an all-time high or not.

Plan Your Trips

Most car owners just get in the car and drive to where they need to go. However, a better way to do that plus save some money is to be more careful in planning your trip. For example, if you need to do your grocery and there is a grocery store you pass by on your way home from work, then that would be the best. It would save you miles driving back to it if you go on days when you don’t work.


Is there someone in the family or nearby that is also going your way at the same time? Let’s say you and your wife are off to work and you can pass by her office, it would be best to just drop her there than use two cars. With carpooling you don’t only save on gas, you also help lessen the carbon footprint.

Take Advantage Of Promotions

There are some credit cards that offer you rewards for essentials like gas. Cashback, whenever you fill up, is a great way to save money on your fuel. There are also some gas stations that offer cheaper prices when you pay them in cash. Figure out what promotions are available in your area and use them.

Car Maintenance

Proper car maintenance helps keep your car in shape. That will prevent your car from wasting gas and use it more efficiently. Change the oil and filter, maintain optimal tire pressure and drive at a constant speed all help.
wearing mask at a gas station

How To Level-Up Gas Station Experience Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

Talk to people about the Covid-19 pandemic and most of what you’ll hear are complaints or negative reactions to it. Truly, this pandemic has affected us all, and not in a good way. All industries are fighting their own battles to try to make their businesses survive. What if I told you that although the pandemic has brought a lot of negativity to the masses, you as a gas service provider could turn things around. Instead of moping around the negativity, you can use it to your advantage. What is the main priority of your customers in the presence of the pandemic? Well, it’s their safety of course. COVID-19 is deadly and although they need gas, they would rather go to gas stations where they feel safer. Here’s how you can do that:

Use Signs

Do you require customers to wear masks when inside your convenience store? If you do, then put up that sign. Some people become more confident to buy something from your convenience store if they see that you prioritize safety. That is just one way to improve sales from your convenience store. If they see that you implement such rules, they’ll be more confident that they are of lesser risk to buy something from you. Additionally, make sure your employees follow your signs too. Signs for social distancing would also be great. Additionally, your employees must also implement them in a courteous manner. They can remind the customers by pointing out the signs or by waving the signs. Apart from the signs, you can also create physical barriers to keep the distance. You may even place markers on the ground to help them know where to stand while in the queue. Make sure your employees also practice this so that when customers see them, they’ll also know that the rules apply to everyone else.

Provide Hand Sanitizers And Free Masks

If your customers don’t have masks, your employees can kindly point them to the area where they can get a free one. In that way, they can go inside your convenience store and make the purchase. Hand sanitizers also add another level of protection. When they see that you are one with them to stop the spread, they are likely to feel comfortable buying gas and other stuff from your station.

Use Freebies As A Marketing Tool

Make the best out of the situation. We all know that you have to lessen contact amongst customers so if you must make them use a pen, let them take it home. Add your gas station’s name or logo on the pen and use it as advertising. New pens for each customer who needs to use them is a great advertising tool.
Tow Truck Driver At Gas Station Waiting For Fill Up

Pivot And Profit To Local Service Businesses

Driving the highways, tollways, and interstates of the United States, it is difficult not to notice the many truck stops distributed along these vital transportation routes.  With signs emblazoned high above the horizon, and more than a few billboards alerting you of their location well before their exit, these outposts are strategically located to cater, in large part, to the professional truckers that heavily travel these routes. Featuring showers, hotels, restaurants, plenty of diesel pumps, and large parking spaces dedicated to larger truck rigs, the truck stops identify largely with the trucker customer base, and the truck stops, in turn are rewarded with a happy customer base that spends generously in all the right places. As an urban dweller and owner of a convenience and gas station in Raleigh, NC, I often wonder why other convenience store owners do not do the same for their service-industry customers.  I have found over the years that the workers in the service sectors like HVAC, towing, landscaping, utilities, and electric are often repeat customers and spend significantly more than your average driver topping off the tank on their way home from work. So today, as follow up to an earlier article on the importance of the occupational service sector, I’ve been asked by the editorial staff of SOspeedway to review our recent effort to pivot of our convenience store in North Raleigh to better cater to our service sector customers.

What We Did

Expanded Targeted Offerings – With our belief that a convenience section dedicated to service-based drivers would also help drive ancillary convenience stores, we devised an area for items like back rest supports, steering wheel covers, and other high-dollar, high-margin items that would likely appeal to service truck drivers, further driving in-store sales and customer retention.   This “Service Section” like was located directly across from the refrigerated fresh foods section where many of these customers grab lunch for the day.
  • Rewards Programs – As a convenience store owner of employee, there is a good chance you know who you best customers are and you probably know them on a first-name basis.  Rather than simply waiting for them to find out about rewards programs like the Speedy Rewards Mall programs to, we actively reached out to these customers to get them involved, and where appropriate, gave them a unsolicited discount on a purchase.  In my opinion nothing goes further for creating a life-long customer than recognizing these important customers individually.
  • Smoking Section – We had asked our top service-sector customers what they would like more than anything and a clean smoking section was rated near the top.  Although hesitant to implement for fear of driving away non-smoking customers, we were able to carve out some open green-space away from the pumps and the store entrance to locate a cozy area with potted plants and a few ashtrays.  While not overly large, we wanted to ensure clean, adequate space while not creating a perception that they were being sent to “smoker’s jail” as we like to call many of the cramped smoking-only spaces we have seen elsewhere.
  • Added Diesel Pumps – Service technicians are on the road – a lot.  And with the increased driving miles it makes more sense for these companies to own diesel-powered vehicles versus their gas counterparts.  With this in mind, we were noticing that many of these customers were having to wait for the diesel pump in the mornings and late rush hour.  In response, we made the decision to convert a gas pump to diesel making it a total of two pumps and four nozzles diesel and four / eight for gas.  Although there are now times every day where our traditional gas customers must wait for a pump to become available, we have seen it as an acceptable,  net-positive trade-off.

The Results

While we only have 6 months of data at the time of this writing our operating revenue have increased an impressive 5% and is trending steadily higher every month.  With the additional revenue, we’ve nearly paid half of the outlay for the pump conversion, new product and smoking section construction.  If this trend continues, tobacco product sales will increase 7% YOY. On the downside, as expected, we did see a higher wait time for the normal gas station pumps, and we did have had some initial setback with product placement with the new within the store.  This forced us to try a number of different product offerings at the new “service section”, and had to eat the cost of a few higher dollar items that were not selling.

The Feedback

Feedback was mostly positive.  Here’s a couple that stand out…

We love the new additions; the smoking section is a nice area to get out of the tow truck and have a smoke break after filling up and eating lunch.  Diesel pumps are not as congested at lunch.Willis Banks, Straight Away Towing Service, Raleigh NC

I come here around three days a week and prefer it over the BP across the street.  Its cleaner and the workers behind the counter know us.  Fact is, we are repeat customers and were offered a preferred customer discount without being asked.  I appreciated it.” – Brian Jordan, Independent Electrician, Wake Forest, NC


For years we had a suspicion that the service-sector customer profile was more profitable than more other segments, but we were always hesitant  to convert the customer experience toward that base in fear of alienating our “bread and butter” customers, however the effort so far has been well worth it. While there are some downsides, the additional revenue speaks for itself and we would suggest any owner of a convenience store to take steps to similarly address the occupational service sector customer profile. Thanks for reading!