SYLVANIA, Ohio — Recognizing that it is more important than ever to introduce innovation to the consumer, S&G Stores LLC has been busy making enhancements to its business.
S&G Stores started in 1999 as Stop and Go Stores, and the Sylvania-based company has since grown through a series of local acquisitions. Those deals included 17 In and Out Marts in 2014; 11 Shaffer Oil stores in Dayton, Ohio, and the surrounding area in 2019; Toledo, Ohio-based Stop and Shop Stores in June 2020; and most recently, 12 Barney’s stores located in and around the Toledo market. The company currently operates 70 locations.
Since acquiring the Barney’s stores at the end of 2021, S&G has gotten to work reordering and resetting all of the gondolas in every store, which Vice President of Marketing Neal A. Frandsen told Convenience Store News has “afforded us the opportunity to expand product selection, and fix adjacencies within the stores to enable the customer to have an easier shopping experience in locating like items together such as beer and salty, milk and bread, etc.”
Frandsen noted that the Barney’s stores were already prime locations with very high volume and a strong customer base. They’ve been in Toledo and the surrounding markets just as long as S&G has, making them an ideal fit to expand the business.
Across its portfolio, S&G is leveraging a new loyalty program to connect with customers. The Real Deal Rewards program launched in September 2021 and features new enhancements that the company’s previous provider didn’t offer, such as geofencing, market basket promotions specific to the customer’s purchase history, and a broader offer of clubs and deeper discounts. The previous program was simply called S&G Rewards.
With the new Real Deal Rewards program, Frandsen said the retailer aims to broaden its customer base, deepen customer loyalty, increase sales and margins through targeted promotions, and more accurately data mine to be able to tell what product is being purchased by what customer.
On deck for S&G is also an initiative to revamp all of the backbars in the company. Tobacco is a top-ranked category for the retailer. “We are over spaced in cigarettes, under spaced in vapor and OTP, and our cigars presently don’t have a home location in some store sets,” Frandsen explained.
In numerous stores, S&G will remove existing cabinetry that stores back stock and supports the eye-level cigarette racks there now. New racks will run from the floor to the ceiling and provide more inventory space, thus reducing the need for back stock in most instances. The size of the store will determine how many racks each location receives.
Upon completion of this project, Frandsen said the goal is to have a product assortment that mirrors what each store is actually selling, better product visibility for customers, and reduced inventory that frees up inventory dollars and reduces shrink opportunities.
Foodservice, which is not a top-ranked category for S&G at this time, is also on the retailer’s radar for enhancement. Following the backbar project, S&G will be turning its attention to revamping the foodservice offerings in select locations.
There are several driving factors behind this, but Frandsen said the primary ones are:
To be more relative in food in comparison to the competition;
To drive higher margins;
To increase the customer base; and
To increase incremental sales off of food.
Currently, less than a dozen S&G stores offer roller grill products.