CST Begins Three-Year Rebranding Effort
SAN ANTONIO — CST Brands Inc. is embarking on a total brand makeover that will start in its hometown and spread outward, creating a network of rebranded stores within three years.
The San Antonio-based convenience store retailer unveiled its first rebranded Corner Store built from the ground up. The store is in north San Antonio, and the company plans to add four more in San Antonio before the end of the year.
As CST explained, the Corner Store name has not changed, but a dramatic new look and feel carries out the company's new service promise: "Simply Fresh. Always Friendly." The color palette and design elements are refreshing, neighborly and in-touch, and encompass the store logo, signage, interior and exterior.
In addition, larger CST stores will be known as Corner Store Markets and offer an expanded selection of fresh produce, quick meal fixings and a made-to-order food menu with pizzas, sandwich melts, soups, salads and more. These new-format stores will also feature the already popular Corner Store kolaches, tacos, and whoopie pies.
In early 2016, the company will debut a total of 21 new and legacy San Antonio stores that will carry the new Corner Store logo, signage and color palette. The larger of these stores will be Corner Store Market locations.
After opening these new and refreshed stores, CST will begin a rollout to all Corner Stores in San Antonio and the surrounding area, with the goal of rebranding the network in three years.
CST expects that the lifts received from the investment in rebranding its legacy stores will deliver similar returns to its new-to-industry capital program, and that this initial pilot will validate the expected return on investment.
According to the company, this rebranding initiative is based upon extensive market research that shows Corner Store's customers want a broad range of food and beverage options, including healthy choices, grocery staples, and fresh food prepared on-site. Customers are also seeking a welcoming, neighborly atmosphere and are open to trying new items and flavors from the trusted Corner Store brand, the retailer noted.
"Looking to the future of our industry, it's crucial that Corner Store continue to establish a clear retail identity broader than our fuel offerings. Inside our stores, food and beverage sales are a vital and stable profit generator. With this exciting brand initiative, we are looking to not only expand those offerings, but to call more attention to the great food, beverages and service we already offer," said Kim Lubel, chairman and CEO of CST Brands. "Ultimately, we believe this pivotal new direction will energize our existing customers, draw new ones to our stores, increase overall revenues and enhance shareholder value."
Unifying all Corner Store locations under the new brand will also allow for more effective network-wide advertising, adding a powerful tool to leverage the existing strength, offerings and scope of the convenience retail chain.
A Nationally Recognized Convenience Store Brand
Along with the rebranding, CST plans to continue expansion through new store builds and strategic acquisitions that add value to the company's network of more than 1,000 stores across the United States.
As a benefit of CST's 2014 acquisition of New York-based Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, for instance, Corner Store has been able to import Nice N Easy's popular made-to-order food program to Texas through the new Corner Store Market concept, introducing its hot and cold food menu anchored by pizzas.
With the modern makeover and expanded grocery and food offerings, Corner Store Markets aim to attract more millennials and women looking for on-the-go lunch options or quick dinner solutions without the hassle of navigating a big-box store.
"Our customers lead busy, active lives and Corner Store is here to make things easier. Our goal is to create a simple and streamlined shopping experience from start to finish so customers can make the most of their time," said Hal Adams, CST's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "Fresh is about a lot more than food; it's about delivering an overall refreshing experience — a clean store, quality products, a neighborly atmosphere and team members that genuinely love to serve customers."
CST worked with Prophet, a global brand and marketing consultancy, on the rebranding initiative over the past year. The Prophet team collaborated with CST management to articulate the fresh and friendly look and promise, and apply it to the stores, store team members and 14,000 employees across the company.
"Our goal is to create a nationally recognized convenience store brand and we greatly appreciate Prophet's valuable contribution in bringing this to life," said Peter Brodnitz, vice president of marketing at CST Brands.
With nearly 1,900 sites in the United States and Canada and nearly $12.8 billion in revenues in 2014, Corner Store's parent company, CST Brands, is one of the largest independent retail and wholesale distributors of motor fuel and convenience merchandise, freshly prepared food and other services in North America.