by Michael Ferrari
Top Star Express has made its mark in the area with its fuel and product offering. However, the chain told Convenience Store Decisions that it keeps customers coming back by giving them a store that both pleases the eye and makes it easy to shop. Monica Bradford, Top Star Express’s director of marketing, shares what’s important when designing a Top Star Express location.
When designing new stores or remodeling current ones, are there any staples you keep in mind?
Bradford:Hot warmers are always in place where there is room at our transaction counters—they serve as great impulse items.We also have open-air cooler for those customers that want to grab and go.
CSD:How much inspiration comes from outside sources or competition when entering design concepts into your stores?
Bradford:We are always looking at the competition with regards to packaging and offers, but in the designing, we stick to our basic Top Star look/dcor to make it fit the store.
CSD:How do you configure your aisles? Do you build them with a particular merchandising method in mind?
Bradford:We typically utilize the standard 3’ to 4’ metal gondolas with end caps, and we upgrade the equipment as budget allows. We are also moving towards merchandising in angles to give an open space to the customer and point the walking path towards our delis/grills/food courts.
CSD:When designing the stores, do you focus on attracting a certain demographic?
Bradford:The majority of our stores are scattered throughout the Lehigh Valley, Pa. and some out west, so we hit all sorts of demographics–from the business executive to the soccer mom to the blue-collar worker. Our atmosphere is a festive blue with red and white colors in the mix.