image is everything

There are few things I enjoy more than hitting the road to watch retailers in action. That's why I was particularly pleased by Chevron's invitation to spend a few days at company headquarters in lovely San Ramon, Calif., to learn all about its 2006 Image Refresh program.

The operations team, Shariq Yosufzai, president of Chevron global marketing solutions; Wayne Klahs, vice president of global marketing; Danny Roden, vice president of North America marketing; Dave Fitzgerald, project manager for Chevron Image Refresh; and Ian Noble, manager of franchise concept development and alliances, were the perfect hosts. Each set aside time in their busy day to walk me through this impressive renovation project that is sure to please consumers and branded marketers.

Chevron's Image Refresh was developed to build on the successes of its popular Hallmark 21 image. It pulls together the strongest components of Hallmark 21 to create a program that evolves its brand image in a way that will modernize facilities and ultimately enhance the bottom line. The company currently has 44 of the new stores up and running in Seattle.

"Customers list image and reputation among the primary reasons to visit and then return to a convenience store," Roden said, "They associate Chevron with a clean and reliable fuel and convenience retailing experience. We have taken these feelings and translated them into a flexible set of station features that every retailer and marketer can easily implement at their site."

To get branded marketers behind Image Refresh, which primarily focuses on updating the forecourt fueling area, Chevron is offering a strong reimbursement package based on a number of operating criteria beginning with fuel volume.

The marketer is also finalizing plans to roll out Image Refresh as part of a package with its Extra Mile convenience store concept. "Combined, we believe we can offer branded marketers a powerful retail marketing solution," Klahs said. Read about Chevron's plans beginning on page 18.

Viva Las Vegas
It's October and, aside from the World Series, that means it's time forthe NACS show. The big event this year, like the previous two, will be heldin Las Vegas. Following a difficult 2005, 2006 has proved to be equally challenging,especially from a fuel supply standpoint. The NACS show is the perfect venueto acquire vital industry information that can help you make more informed businessdecisions. While perusing the trade show floor and educational sessions, haveyour questions ready and seek out solutions from experienced experts that operatein the trenches every day. If they can't help you, chances are they know someonewho can.

Like the customers the industry serves, we are all short on time and big on the need to know everything as soon as we can. Make the time away from the office productive and time well spent. If the information gleaned at this show can carry you through just one crisis, it will be worth the trip. However, if you walk away from this experience wondering why you bothered to attend, chances are you missed at least one opportunity to improve your business, and your competitors will thank you for it.

And while in Sin City, don't be afraid to head to the Sports Book and take the New York Yankees in the Fall Classic winning over their cross-town rivals, the New York Mets, in six games. While I don't encourage betting

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