BONUS CONTENT: Pushing the Limits Still
MEAD, Okla. — Donny Simmons built his business with the mentality of staying relevant and continually innovating. At the time of his April 2009 Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner cover story, he had just closed a Jiffy Mart store and debuted a new 5,000-square-foot convenience store across the street on Highway 70 in Mead called Push ‘Em Station.
In 2009, Push ‘Em Station featured 20 cooler doors, a beer cave, a fountain and frozen beverage wall with 20 heads, a f’real milkshake machine, eight varieties of hot coffee, 10-plus cappuccinos, iced and frozen coffee, as well as a variety of foodservice options including Noble Roman’s Pizza and Tuscano’s Italian Style Subs. These days, while some things remain the same, Simmons continues to innovate.
“We have tweaked some of our foodservice offerings on the quick-serve side. We’ve taken out the sub sandwiches and replaced it with Champs Chicken, which we prepare in our kitchen,” he said. “We have seen good growth in our food offerings. It has been successful, and anybody who does it knows it’s a lot of work.”
Push ‘Em is also offering breakfast options via a quick-service kiosk, and Simmons attributes the growth in the store’s customer base to the foodservice offerings.
Another new addition to the store is a DVD rental kiosk, similar to Redbox, which was added less than six months ago and has been well received. The kiosk is indoors, which limits sales since the store is only open from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“I tried to get an outside one from Redbox, but they would not even discuss it with me because I’m a single store, which is one of the challenges we face,” Simmons explained. “Outside would have been better because it would have been available 24 hours a day.”
In the coffee, frozen and fountain beverage arena, the store has tried a few new products, but still offers f’real milkshakes and a coffee bar with between six and eight flavors. Simmons plans to expand his fountain beverage options even more.
“I want to offer the new, innovative fountain machines with a touchscreen and am working with Coca-Cola right now to replace the machine I have,” he said. “There are so many flavors available right now and I have 20 heads, so customers can create around 60 flavors. But with the touchscreen, we could quadruple that.”
Simmons said most of these machines are available in specialty restaurants, but they are now becoming available to c-stores. Coca-Cola would manage it, and the product would come via UPS, so it would make the process easier for them, he noted.
Editor’s note: This Bonus Content story is an add-on to the "Where Are They Now?" feature in the April issue of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner. A digital edition can be accessed by clicking here.