How to Run a C-Store: 5 Steps

how to run a c store

How to Run a C-Store: 5 Steps

Why is it that two gas stations can be located across the street from each other, yet one business far outperforms the other? What are the secrets that put growth into overdrive?

On the latest episode of The Drive, Sami Said, owner of Emanuel Inc., let us in on the successful formula that helped him grow from one small store outside Seattle to a growing network of gas stations along the Puget Sound.

1. Keep Your Site Clean – Inside and Out

This principle is uncompromising and must be executed with extreme consistency. Sami’s employees are expected to keep all aspects of the store, inside and out, clean and pleasant for customers. The speeds at which they pick up outside litter is on par with something you’d see at a theme park. They understand how important a clean store is for pulling in regular customers.

From gas drips on the ground, to the grip of the nozzle, Sami ensures everything is constantly wiped down so “the customer does not put his hand on something dirty,” he says.

Watch how Sami’s team gets this never-ending job done.

2. Merchandising Your C-Store

In the simplest terms, make sure you sell things that your customers want to buy.

“Make sure you have the right merchandise for the c-store customer,” Sami says.

But how do you figure that out?

Sami and his General Manager, Mike Leake rely on their Passport® Point of Sale to keep track of what sells and what sits. If the item doesn’t sell within three to six months, Sami pulls it off the shelf.

Another quick tip from Mike: Use a wholesaler.

The hours spent shopping around town for the best deals on merchandise are “hours you’re not spending in your store,” he says.

“[People with one store], think they’re saving a hundred bucks by going to Costco, but they could’ve cleaned a bathroom that day, or painted a wall, or painted a curb.”

Learn more about merchandising and remote back office tools here.

3. C-Store Foodservice: Sell More Food

Sometimes the “C” in C-store stands for “Catfish.”

Smart merchandising also means smart menu choices. Not only does Sami serve an array of hot food, his fried catfish has gained local legendary status. When food critics call your catfish the “best in Seattle,” you’re doing something right.

Watch how Sami uses his famous catfish to reel in loyal customers.

4. Treat Your Customers Right

Impeccable cleanliness, big data merchandising, and crowd-favorite foods are all components of a good customer experience. Emanuel Inc. is a prime example of a retailer that nailed it and found exponential success.

“It’s not just about making money, it’s about treating the customer right,” Sami says.

See how Sami’s approach to the customer experience trickles down to his staff.



5. Treat Your Employees Right

You can’t delight your customers if you don’t delight your employees. So while the customer experience is paramount, perhaps it’s the human experience making it possible. Respecting employees, listening to their needs, plus being a consistent leader and role model are all things Sami does to make sure his employees are truly on his team and sharing in his success.