CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — After nearly four decades in operation, Tiger Fuel Co. sought to unify its family of brands with a new corporate identity that maintained its heritage while matching its focus on the future. The result is a modern and consistent look and feel that accurately reflects the quality of its products, services and team members, and includes several new initiatives.
Established in 1982 with the purchase of an Exxon-branded petroleum distributor in Charlottesville, the company today operates: Tiger Fuel, a propane, oil and gasoline distributor; The Market, a chain of nine convenience stores in central Virginia; and 10 TigerWash car wash locations. All told, the company employs more than 270 staffers.
The Market c-store concept has been around since 1991 when it was created by store manager and self-taught chef Patt Pitts. It was designed to be a place where the community could gather for fresh food, cold beverages, and provisions. Since then, the retailer has reimagined the taste of convenience and added the promise of fast, friendly and exceptional service.
“The foundation of our business has always been to operate sparkling clean, well-stocked stores and work as a team to passionately serve our guests,” Sarah Whitney, marketing director for Tiger Fuel, expressed to Convenience Store News.
The company has a saying that sums up its approach to customer service: “We are pickle people!” The retailer believes in giving its customers “the pickle,” which essentially means going the extra mile to make every guest happy.
“Whether that’s greeting customers with warm smiles and big hugs, lending a helping hand, or taking the time to remember customers’ names and personal stories, we believe in giving our customers the pickle!” Whitney explained.
Tiger Fuel initiated the corporate rebranding in February 2019. The process began with an assessment of its current look, market research, a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis, and selection of an agency to help modernize its look and feel. Ultimately, the company selected a local Charlottesville design studio, Iconograph, and over an eight-month period, new branding and logos were designed, and a style guide and brand assets were compiled.
“Now that we have matching color palettes, iconography, fonts and illustrations, we are able to cohesively market and promote our three brands. Our brand identity now matches the amazing customer service, our awesome ‘pickle people,’ and the delicious food that we serve,” Whitney said. “As we continue to grow, we’re glad to have a blueprint for what the stores should look like in terms of layout, design and application. We will be able to make more efficient and strategic decisions as we grow, keeping in line with the new brand identity that we developed.”
Debuting a new brand identity brings with it opportunities to execute new initiatives.
Tiger Fuel rolled out a new website and a new online ordering system, in addition to The Market Rewards loyalty program and mobile app powered by Paytronix.
Through The Market Rewards program, guests can:
- Use the mobile app or website to order ahead, prepay and pick up.
- Receive a 20-cent-per-gallon fuel discount for registering their loyalty card;
- Easily earn and track points on eligible purchases at the pump and in-store;
- Redeem points for their favorite items; and
- Participate in the Sandwich Club or the Beverage Club.
“We’re excited to introduce our new loyalty program and mobile app, The Market Rewards, to better reward guests for their loyalty, and make ordering our delicious sandwiches easier than ever before,” said Maurice Lamarche, Tiger Fuel’s retail director. “We designed this program to give our customers more of the items they want, when they want them, and thank them for their loyalty to The Markets.”
By providing an in-house online ordering service, The Market customers can have a more efficient and convenient experience. “With third-party vendors such as Grubhub or Uber Eats, the commissions can be very high and we can’t guarantee that food will be delivered promptly. Our goal is that guests who order directly through our channels can pick up freshly prepared food at our markets in a timely manner,” Lamarche explained.
The Market’s online ordering and pickup system was piloted at the retailer’s deli locations at the beginning of the year and officially launched in early March as the COVID-19 pandemic forced all c-store retailers to rethink and adapt services to better meet the needs of consumers.
“While we certainly did not plan to begin online ordering in a pandemic, we were prepared to fulfill customers’ orders electronically and deliver curbside. This allowed us to stay competitive in the restaurant space during a challenging time, and we had a visual identity that we were proud of,” said Whitney.
Looking toward the future, the retailer is confident that its new imaging coupled with “great rewards” and “amazing people” working in its stores will make all the difference.