Quality Time

New Q Mart Marketplace has hearty appetite for foodservice profits, customer rewards.

By  John Winter, Vice president of planning and development

Article Preview: 

Based in Sheboygan, Wis., Quality State Oil Co. is a 52-year-old business owned by Greg Bultman and Deb Deblaey. We operate 20 convenience stores, as big as 4,400 square feet, throughout east central Wisconsin. With that brief background, we are excited about our new concept: our first Q Mart that employs LED for all of our lighting, including canopy and branding signage. This new, 2-acre site features 16 parking spaces, 10 fueling points and our largest Q Mart Marketplace beer vault.

Why the new concept? Simple—to give foodservice the space and attention it truly needs.

Our newest Q Mart Marketplace, located at 1211 Weeden Creek Road in our hometown of Sheboygan, was developed with the idea of creating a great customer experience. Its environment is welcoming to our customers and offers a well-rounded foodservice presentation. The site is upbeat and attractive, with a tan stucco and block exterior, red-andwhite- striped awnings and our signature Q Mart logo at the entrance.

The design is our “marketplace” look, homey and welcoming. The design is a culmination of three months of give and take. Our builder has worked closely with us to evolve our current locations, and we’ve built upon those successes with this store in mind. A similarly rebuilt store in Oostburg, Wis., produced phenomenal results, both in the store and at the pump, following its renovations in 2008.

Automatic doors invite our customers into a spacious, inviting experience. Beautiful cherry cabinetry with solid granite countertops is featured throughout the renovation. Spacious ceramic-tiled restrooms were designed to reinforce this spirit of openness and style. Adding to the perception of spaciousness are oversized front windows and bright LED lighting.

Perhaps different from many convenience stores, we place shopping carts and baskets near the entrance for our customers’ convenience. So if you want a muffin or pack of smokes, fine. But if you want to bundle, the carts and baskets tell you we’re not your typical c-store.

Large, easy-to-read signage over the 23 cooler doors provides easy, customer-friendly reminders of a very robust cold vault, which includes hundreds of fresh and frozen products. A Q Mart Café seating area provides Wi-Fi and cable TV for our customers while they take a few minutes to relax and grab a bite to eat.

FOOD FOR ANY APPETITE

The foodservice presentation is front and center as the customer enters the store. This location provides our most comprehensive foodservice offering and includes more product lines than we have ever offered. We feature take-home Chester’s Chicken on the Fly, Piccadilly Circus Pizza, both hot and cold deli sandwiches, hot soup, roller-grill products including Johnsonville Brats and Don Miguel taquitos, six Caribbean Crème slush flavors, f’real ice-cream shakes, malts and smoothies, and a 16-head fountain that offers both crushed and cubed ice with flavor shots. Fresh fruits and grab-and-go meals add to our variety. Our 20-foot stone coffee bar highlights our great coffeehouse products, featuring Torke coffees, cappuccinos and lattes. Breakfast, lunch or dinner—we’ve got our customers covered! In the first two months of operation, we are well on our way to achieving our goal of 18% of sales coming from the foodservice area.

This new concept location also features Q Mart’s largest beer vault, complete with an automatic door. Brightly lit with the latest in LED lighting, the new beer vault offers varieties of domestic, craft, specialty and import beer packages focusing on both convenience and take-home packages. It also includes “pick a 6,” our make-your-own six-pack.

ZONING AND PLANNING

In this down economy, the city of Sheboygan worked closely with us to make this project run smoothly and quickly.

We feel we have created a destination that will serve the local residential customer base, along with visitors to Terry Andrae State Park, one of Wisconsin’s most beautiful parks, and Riverdale Golf Course, both within 2 miles south of our store.

We’re a different kind of convenience chain because we focus on driving take-home business, not just relying on location and traditional convenience-store sales to drive profits.

To achieve this superette approach, we market our Q Mart Rewards program aggressively, reaching the community through radio, newspaper ads, cable TV and the Internet. We have more than 75,000 members using our Q Mart Rewards key tag and have found this to be a great way to reach out to and connect with the consumer. This has not only helped us expand our customer base, but it also has increased our average ring and made Q Mart Marketplace into a true community destination.

We hope to continue growing our business. Q Mart Rewards consistently offers “two-for” deals, and we are now distributing manufacturer coupons from Catalina Marketing via this program. This ties to our core mission: to provide everyday value with the best customer service in a clean and friendly atmosphere. Having a beautiful, spacious store sure makes this easier, but the quality of our employees is equally important, if not more.  

Click here to download full article