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A Home Away from Home

Pump & Pantry’s new hometown prototype design ushers in new products and an upgraded image

Based in Grand Island, Neb., Bosselman Cos. operates 50 Pump & Pantry convenience stores throughout the state — about half of which are located in small-town communities. The fourth-generation, family-owned company, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary, prides itself on its hometown commitment to customers. This commitment is even part of its mission statement, so when crafting a new Pump & Pantry prototype design, the company wanted to reflect a hometown feel throughout.

“We looked back and saw how we succeeded over the years, and then looked at our competition putting up sterile and sharp store designs,” recalled Charlie Bosselman, president of Bosselman Cos. “We knew we wanted to lend ourselves to being the hometown experience and reflect that in our new builds.”

The new streamlined, contemporary “hometown” design reflects the look of a Victorian house, featuring a turret with a round-shaped room and pointed roof. This area provides seating for customers to eat and drink inside the store. The overall design is modeled after the look and feel of its Grandma Max’s restaurants, which also feature a turret.

“Everyone liked the look and it really brought forth the hometown theme, so we decided to incorporate it into the c-stores to relate the same feeling,” Bosselman said, noting that the store exterior features a blue metal roof and white, split-faced brick, with the turret positioned in the front and to the right.

“The turret goes all the way to the ceiling where we put in seating because we had a lot of customers coming in and drinking coffee in the morning or having lunch,” he explained. “We want people to come in and spend some time, so the seating area offers tables and chairs for between eight and 10 people.”

The traditional Pump & Pantry colors are green, yellow and white, but the new design adds in blue to “pump up” the brand image and allow for more creativity, he said. The design took a year to create and was done internally before being passed to an outside architect who drew up the plans.

The first store to feature a scaled-down version of the hometown design was a 30-year-old location that burned to the ground a year and a half ago in Chapman, Neb. It is approximately 1,800 square feet. A second location, which opened a couple of months ago in Fremont, Neb., reflects the standard footprint of nearly 3,000 square feet.


To carry the hometown feel indoors, the company designed a backdrop to its snack bar area using images of the Bosselman family and history of the company through the present time. It also brought the pop of blue inside, near the cooler.

“In the past, we just had white walls. But we brightened it up with color and graphics,” Bosselman said. “We redesigned all the cabinets with a cherry wood finish and a solid surface top for a high-end look and spent a lot of time working on each category.”

One of the biggest and most successful changes is the addition of a Cinnabon franchise in the store. These franchises will operate at 10 Pump & Pantry locations by the end of the year. Bosselman said he wanted to offer customers something they could not get in another c-store and something that would capture their attention with the aroma the moment they stepped through the doors. The chain will continue adding Cinnabon to 10 or 15 more locations, and possibly operate some standalone franchise locations as well.

“We are the only c-store chain Cinnabon has done a deal with because they wanted someone who was dedicated to doing it right. To pull it off, you really have to operate it as a restaurant, and we have been in the restaurant business for 65 years,” he said.

To accommodate the needs of Cinnabon, the chain added a full kitchen to its new hometown design, which has also allowed it to introduce other new foodservice items, such as its Bones Barbeque. Everything, including the Cinnabon, is designed around the snack bar area, which is manned by a staff person. The bar offers roller grills, premade sandwiches and ice cream, including soft-serve and f’real milkshakes.

“We are having discussions about expanding our ice cream offering very soon, and the Fremont store may be our test site,” Bosselman added.

The chain is also migrating to larger fountain dispensers with 16 heads and flavor bursts, and reevaluating the branding of its coffee to expand the hot beverages category. In the past, there was not an emphasis on liquor or wine, but the new design features a section both behind the checkout and out on the floor. There is also a walk-in beer cave.


Three years ago, Bosselman Cos. decided to get involved in minor league sports, beginning with an indoor football team known as the Nebraska Danger. In conjunction with this venture the company created a mascot named Bones.

“He went over so well, we decided to incorporate him into our other businesses and now, he is in our c-stores,” Bosselman said. “We even brand things with the Bones logo including our Bones Barbeque and the Danger Blue Slush with the Bones logo.”

A six-foot fiberglass character of Bones designed by a local company sits atop the gas canopy at the new store builds. Bones serves as the mascot for the company’s service shops and restaurants too.

“In Nebraska football is huge” Bosselman said. “If I can get the fans who follow the team to associate the mascot with the stores they will spend money with me instead of the competition.”

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