Family Express Is in the Express Lane

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Special Report

Family Express Is in the Express Lane

Family Express Corp., one of the convenience store industry’s finest regional chains of c-stores and fueling centers, is embarking on the most ambitious growth plan in its 40-year history.

The plan included opening five new stores in 2018 and calls for entering a new market in suburban Indianapolis, enlarging its 165,000-square-foot central distribution center and investing in new technology to bring seamless customer engagement to all its stores.

The Valparaiso, Ind.-based chain of 74 convenience stores — still led by its founder Gus Olympidis — flies under the radar in most discussions of best-in-class convenience chains, but the vertically integrated retailer is a market leader in northwest Indiana, known for its uniquely friendly employees who embrace the company’s “living brand” culture of exceptional customer service. The “living brand” concept has paid off in lower workforce turnover and higher-than-average industry profits for the family-run retailer.

Convenience Store News recently had the opportunity to tour Family Express’ headquarters, central distribution center and a handful of stores in the Valparaiso market with the chain’s outgoing and confident president and CEO.

“We don’t measure success by the number of stores we open,” Olympidis told CSNews as he showed off the company’s modern headquarters, replete with two training centers and a fully outfitted fitness center for employees. “We want to be the best convenience store retailer. We will never be the largest. Our business model has delivered record earnings throughout the last recession and beyond."

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