Wayne Moser studied electrical technology with the hopes of gaining employment in the oil fields in Western North Dakota or Eastern Montana, where he had always dreamed of moving. Unfortunately, the oil boom era was slowing down just after his college years, which made it difficult to find employment in his area of education. Heading out to Montana was put on hold, but little did he know that the retail experience he acquired would land him exactly where he wanted to be.
After working with the Kmart Corp. for eight years, an opportunity arose in Cutbank Montana, where a Town Pump Food Store was up for lease. Moser jumped on the opportunity and so began Wayne Moser’s career in conveniencehe’s been a devoted employee to the Butte, Mont.-based chain ever since.
” [I] worked the store for about two years learning some of the c-store business,” said Moser, director of sales and marketing for Town Pump Inc. “I got to know some of the Town Pump corporate people and the c-store director of operations offered me a job as a manager. I accepted and was finally where I wanted to be.”
Moser has worked his way through the companyfrom manager to district manager and eventually category buyer, working with the c-store operations as Town Pump has grown into an 80-store chain. Moser worked as a grocery category buyer for three years and in 2003, he became the buyer for the tobacco, beer/wine, pop, frozen foods, dairy and other drink categories, along with becoming the director of marketing for the c-store advertising.
Even though the bulk of Town Pump’s competitors are independent operators, Moser feels the company has to be even more nimble to gain its customers’ dollars. As the company continues to grow, it poses a huge challenge to Moser and his team to maintain the right amount of communication with its district and store managers. But the company has strong programs in place and puts a lot of faith in the strong relationships its forged with vendors.
“Independents in Montana tend to be more aggressive and flexible-when it comes to promotional pricing and trying to compete using a centralized pricing program holds us at a disadvantage,” said Moser. “Therefore we have a corporate base structure to satisfy-our statewide marketing programs with lots of built in flexibility for store and district managers to be competitive in their markets.
“We always want be first on [our vendors’] minds with new items and promotions to get the best possible pricing,” added Moser. “We are always working to expand growing categories efficiently by constantly analyzing movement, sales and profits of each item. Then we make changes as quickly as possible and get behind those decisions with the right merchandising presentation and advertising.”
Perfecting the in-store selection is key, but growth is one sure way to become a household name. Moser is involved in weekly construction meetings where the company discusses the planning and development stages of new and existing locations.
“We need to continue building new stores in growing market areas,” he said. “We also need to take care of our customers and build on the Town Pump image, and look for better ways to serve their needs. We cannot relax our standards of taking care of businessthere are too many good competitors out there.”
With its eyes on the horizon, Town Pump sees big box stores and the grocery channel posing a huge threat to the convenience class. But Moser is confident that maintaining a focus on its customers’ needs will keep the company growing and thriving.
“Grocery and box stores adding gas and convenience to their properties is taking the profitability out of the fuel side and creates more dependability on inside sales and profits,” said Moser. “More time and energy is being spent negotiating better pricing and analyzing sales and margins. There’s more focus on plus selling and impulse sales at store level and other facility revenue opportunities. We are always looking to update and remodel the older locations to make them more attractive, pleasant and larger to offer more selections to the customer.”