Delivering the Goods

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Delivering the Goods

12/03/2013

PC&F’s new My Goods Market concept debuts at Denver International Airport

Pacific Convenience & Fuels LLC (PC&F), the Pleasanton, Calif.-based operator of more than 300 gas stations and convenience stores in California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Washington, has owned a convenience store at Denver International Airport (DIA) since January 2009. For more than a decade, little had been done with the store, prompting PC&F to recently make a change and a big one at that — launching a brand-new concept here.

“At all of our airport stores, we make the design unique to that airport and area,” said Sam Hirbod, president and CEO of PC&F, noting that the company operates locations at three other airports and has designed each one to match the image of the area. “We make it similar to the art and culture of the town, and the elements of the airport.”

The Denver airport store represents PC&F’s first My Goods Market. The retailer is planning to change the name of its company and all of its stores to My Goods Market by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

“Pacific Convenience & Fuels has always been a placeholder for us,” Hirbod said. “When we bought the ConocoPhillips assets, we couldn’t change the name of the stores because they were all under Circle K contracts. Now they are up, so we are going to change to My Goods Market and rebrand all of the stores.”

PC&F acquired all of ConocoPhillips’ U.S. retail marketing assets in January 2009. The company has spent the last several years focused on the integration, optimization and rationalization of the assets it acquired, divesting sites that no longer fit its long-term goals.

While there will be a few Circle K stores left, the majority of PC&F’s stores will become My Goods Market locations, and the new name will also usher in a new image, according to Hirbod. The goal is to create a more upscale feel in the stores and add new healthy offerings to the mix. To help with this, the company recently hired Justin Jackson, a former executive vice president at Whole Foods Market.

“We want to resonate with a larger demographic and not just make the stores appeal to one set of customers,” said Hirbod. “C-stores have often neglected the professionals and soccer moms, and I’ve said in the past [that] Starbucks is one of the most successful c-stores. While we were asleep, they took care of everyone we didn’t. Now, My Goods will take care of a larger market and we will have elements people may not have seen in a c-store before.”

THE DENVER DESIGN

To redesign the DIA store, the chain worked with King Retail Solutions and the airport authorities to come up with a design to fit the Denver culture and overall modern architecture of the airport.

“With DIA being a major gateway to all things Denver, we set out to create a high energy, visually stunning retail environment welcoming travelers to the Colorado experience,” explained Christopher Studach, creative director for Eugene, Ore.-based King Retail Solutions. “We used classic references such as Aspen forests, lodge stone and glacial ice, but executed them in very modern and unexpected ways.”

Saturated and lively colors are used throughout the space, mixed with natural materials such as tree bark, wood and stone, and more modern elements. “The intense visual of the Quench Zone, with its backlit, icy blue 3Form and frosty white glass really draws the shoppers’ attention, while the woody warmth and modern fireplace at the seating area allow shoppers to relax and enjoy their meal,” noted Studach.

One of the most modern and eye-catching pieces of the design is a digital display suspended above the fresh goods case, which appears as a hologram floating in mid-air. A digital projector sits on top of the open-air cooler to project the image against a transparent screen and broadcasts entertainment, local news, snow/ski reports and flight schedules.

“The entire ceiling was conceived as providing glimpses into the twilight sky,” the designer explained. “This area was particularly important because it was quite large and does not get much attention in c-stores.”

There is also an elaborate center chandelier hanging from the ceiling, spanning 16 feet. This was constructed with more than 800 acrylic rods suspended from a grid. Above the grid are computer-controlled LED lights that individually pulsate, slowly changing color and intensity to create an “aurora borealis” lighting effect, said Studach.

“The chandelier was [designed] to bring notice to the high ceilings and to warm up the store,” Hirbod added. “There are also other similar structures like it in the airport, so it was also [meant] to bring elements of the airport inside the store.”

One challenging element of the redesign was for the store to remain open throughout the process. The entire project took five months.

“We divided the building and moved our service area and cashiers three different times during construction,” Hirbod said. “We did one part of the store at a time.”

In terms of product mix, My Goods carries typical convenience and snack items, and offers 24 cooler doors with drinks and other items. There is also a cooler dedicated to deli products, another for natural products and one offering items unique to the Denver area.

“We tried to implement a lot of local products for people from the area, and we also have a travel-center section to meet immediate needs or fill-in items left behind,” Hirbod said.

The fastest-growing section for My Goods, though, is its healthier, natural items. This section sees the most movement, followed by packaged beverages. The DIA store dedicates a large area to healthier grab-and-go SKUs and it has paid off, Hirbod noted.

PC&F also built a full-size Wendy’s with a drive-thru attached to the store. While the original location was 4,655 square feet, the newly remodeled site totals 6,684 square feet, including the Wendy’s. In addition, approximately 60 yards away, the chain opened a 14,000-square-foot food court that includes a Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Baja Fresh and zpizza, which offers gluten-free items and other health-conscious choices.

Going forward, the goal of My Goods will be to add new items to appeal to a broader customer base, especially in the center store where many c-stores fill space with items that don’t sell well, the CEO stated.

“As convenience changes, we have to change with it. There was a time when beer and tobacco dominated, but they are changing. The opportunity now is in the center store, which includes foodservice,” Hirbod said. “In our industry, 35 percent of our in-store real estate represents more than 80 percent of our sales, so there is a lot of opportunity in there.”