NOCO Carefully Charts Expansion Path
TONAWANDA, N.Y. – With its first 80 years in the history books, NOCO Inc. is now charting the future growth of its NOCO Express convenience store division. The company calls the Buffalo, N.Y., area its home base, but has recently grown its footprint to include Rochester, N.Y. -- an area where NOCO already has a presence with its other businesses.
"We have a fairly substantial Rochester expansion plan," Michael Newman, NOCO's executive vice president, told CSNews Online. "We are using our dealer network -- our gasoline supply customers that run convenience stores of their own -- in conjunction with the development of our [own] stores. It has two legs to it: growing our gasoline portfolio and growing our convenience store portfolio."
NOCO is counting on a beefed-up convenience store presence in Rochester to also boost its growing natural gas and electricity division, explained Paul Wydro, general manager of NOCO Express. This growth strategy goes hand in hand with the company's business objective to serve customers "At Work, At Home, and On the Go!"
"When looking at new markets, we look to see where other elements of NOCO have a presence," Wydro said. "NOCO Express almost acts like billboards for the company's At Work, At Home, and On the Go! approach. The natural gas and electricity business is really growing in the Buffalo market because people here know the name. It is growing in the Rochester market as well, but we need more of a presence to help it."
The company's immediate expansion plans do not include moving further east across New York State, however. "It is a pretty crowded market as you get east of Rochester. It is hard to break into a market like that," Newman said.
Besides, NOCO still sees plenty of opportunity in Rochester, and it is hard to manage convenience stores from a distance, he pointed out.
"The real challenge as a private company is making sure you don't get too far ahead of yourself," Newman concluded.
Read more about NOCO's expansion plans in the July issue of Convenience Store News.