Simply Divine

New Gas N Wash site strives to make customers' lives easier.

By  Len McEnery, Owner

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When I first started thinking about my own station—the layout of the building on the property, inside shelving and cooler doors, fresh food accessibility, fuel lanes, the car-wash operation, parking arrangement and a long, wraparound lane for the drive-thru— I always had one thing in mind: to keep it simple and make it easy for our customers.

We opened the store Feb. 16 of this year. We chose the site, in Mokena, Ill., because it’s a prime location for train commuters; it’s also within a mile of busy Interstate 80 and close to a shopping mall.

For the store’s name, I decided on Gas N Wash because it’s straightforward and to the point; our name says what we do. This was the best simple, direct way to get our message across about what we offer, and it’s easy to understand.

Our customers have enough hassles in their lives, so what can we do to make a most necessary part of their day easier? As we went forward with the design, we knew we needed easy access to the station, so our location needed a corner with a traf­fic light to make it no problem to get on and off the site. Now, with two entrances, access to the fuel islands, car-wash lanes and parking spaces is a piece of cake.

Inside and Out

When it came to the fuel pumps, we chose Gilbarco Advantage Passport POS, which are modern and easy to use; the displays are bright and clean, and they accept all forms of payment. Our Spin­back Rewards Program, tailored to our location, offers cents off per gallon of fuel after customers purchase select store items. We have made it simple and easy to buy fuel, save money and offer our guests three grades of gas, E85, diesel fuel and propane; we pride ourselves on being able to provide for all fuel needs at one location.

We wanted a design that was simple for our neighborhood customers to navigate, and also a warm and welcoming atmo­sphere for our traveling guests. When you walk into our 4,000-square-foot store, you can easily see every department. The shelv­ing is long and sleek, placed diagonally so all the choices in the cooler and freezer doors are visible. Signage above our cooler doors is clear and easy to read. Our cus­tomers immediately see where the cold drinks, deli and dairy departments are.

Every gas station must have hot, fresh coffee, so the first pot is ready to go when our Dunkin’ Donuts opens at 4 a.m. The hassle-free drive-thru lets customers get their hot coffee and doughnut or hot breakfast sandwich and be on their way.

Along with hot coffee, it must be sim­ple to buy fountain drinks, energy drinks, water and, of course, beer. In the corner of the cooler area, you immediately see the sign for our beer cave, which is stacked with cases of many popular beer brands. Our fountain area offers 32 different bev­erages, so it’s easy to find your favorite.

Our customers also can see and smell fresh, hot pizza; fresh, ready-to-go sand­wiches and salads; and shiny fresh fruit. If customers are running in for that gallon of milk they needed an hour ago, they can see it right as they walk through the front door.

Of course, cigarettes are on display, and three racks of choices make it simple to see all the brands we offer in the sizes and flavors available for each. In our liquor and wine department, we make it convenient for customers to find refresh­ments without the hassle of a second trip to a liquor store. Within a few feet are bagged ice and snacks; everything’s in one place to make it simple to start a party.

Need a movie or game? A DVD Now Rental machine is there to serve. Just help yourself. Lottery or ATM? Just walk through the front door. There’s no waiting.

Squeaky Clean

We call our location “Home of the Clean Cars.” We are most proud of our car wash—provided by Sonny’s Car Wash Equipment—the simplest and easiest way to keep vehicles clean and shiny. Buy a car wash at the pump, at the pay station or through a Wash Club or Fleet Account, and in less than 2 minutes your car will sparkle, your tires and rims will shine, and no water spot gets past our dryers. Our VIP lane keeps our club and fleet members at the front of the line.

We made vacuuming simple, too, by providing free vacuum lanes for anyone to use. Powerful vacuums with long industrial hoses on both sides of a car make it easy to remove dirt, snack wrappers and old french fries. Even floor mats are simple to clean—just run them through our free mat cleaner.

Finally, we know the importance of making our guests feel welcome and invited. Our customer-friendly, expe­rienced employees always use simple greetings: “Hi! How are you doing today?” “How can I help you?” “Thanks for coming in!” “See you again!” They’re all simple and easy ways to convey our gratitude to our customers for making Gas N Wash their choice.

Simple and easy: It’s a good way to do business.

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