NEW ALBANY, Ohio — In 1961, FW Englefield III founded Englefield Oil Co. with three service stations and an office operating out of his basement. Over the course of the next decade, his idea for a full line of convenience stores to better serve customers began taking shape. Then, in a leap of faith, Englefield Oil opened its first Duchess c-store in Lancaster, Ohio, in 1975.
Dubbed “A royal tradition since 1961,” Duchess operates 119 stores today throughout Ohio and West Virginia. Staying true to its roots as well as a commitment to evolve to better fit customers’ demands, the convenience retailer recently debuted a new flagship location.
The design process began about a year prior to any construction starting. The company wanted the design of this new location to also be ready for any additional builds that followed, Englefield Oil Director of Marketing Nathan Arnold told Convenience Store News.
According to Arnold, all of Duchess’ future rebuilds and new-construction sites will mimic this flagship model. While the size and shape may change, the interior finishes, branding and merchandising elements will translate into the rest of its new stores.
Coincidentally, the unveiling of the new flagship Duchess convenience store in New Albany, Ohio, occurred as Englefield Oil celebrated 60 years in business.
“We didn’t plan our unveiling of our new flagship location to coincide with our 60th anniversary,” Arnold said. “However, as timelines merged, it’s the perfect way for us to celebrate. It pays homage to our history, but sets the stage for the future of our brand.”
Unique & Upscale Offers
Measuring 5,500 square feet, the flagship store is Duchess’ largest site to date. Designed with the consumer in mind, the store is a bright and welcoming space that features new brand elements, merchandising fixtures, and product selections for those on the go.
Elevating Duchess’ legacy store design, the New Albany flagship location pays homage to the company’s history and is also a nod to its future. While injecting the company’s family culture into the model, the newest Duchess store is modern, fresh and urban. It incorporates plants and photos to create a welcoming experience for customers.
“Our customers have loved our new flagship location. When someone walks into the store for the first time, they feel an immediate connection to the brand. We often hear that they feel like they’re not in a typical convenience store,” Arnold said. “From showcasing locally made products and breweries, to the family atmosphere, they are in a welcoming environment. We pride ourselves on being the friendly, convenient stop that helps to fuel the many communities we’re a part of.”
Along with its new look comes a new effort to follow consumer trends and support local companies. The flagship store showcases a wide selection of unique and upscale offers, such as charcuterie boards, olives, chilled wine and healthy snack options. It also showcases local brands, including dozens of Ohio-made products like popcorn, chips, jerky, honey, jams and more.
“Creating these new relationships with local companies may provide opportunities to expand the selection in additional stores in the future,” said Arnold.
The flagship location also emphasizes Duchess’ take on fresh food by offering:
- Breakfast sandwiches — like the new Eggwich, which features sausage or bacon sandwiched between two egg patties and can be complemented by an order of hash brown sticks and fresh-brewed hot coffee.
- Hot sandwiches and grill items, ranging from burgers and hot dogs to pulled pork and chicken sandwiches.
- House-made sandwiches available via The Deli at Duchess.
- Stuffers, which are warm, flaky biscuits stuffed with classic flavors like sausage gravy or cheeseburger. They can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or any time of the day.
- Pizza, salads and snacks such as chicken tenders, egg rolls, fries and pickled eggs.
- Gooey and decadent cookies, doughnuts, cake pops and muffins.
Other amenities available at the Duchess flagship store are curbside pickup, accessible via the My Duchess mobile app or online at MyDuchess.com; and Crown Card Rewards, a non-payment-based rewards program that allows customers to earn and redeem points for qualifying in-store and fuel purchases.