The first Hess gas station was opened in 1960, and the first Hess Express opened in 1997 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Hess Express was named Chain of the Year nine years ago amidst its aggressive southern retail expansion.
“When we were recognized with the Chain of the Year award in 2000, we had about 900 locations and said that 1,300-1,400 was optimal for operating efficiency and brand awareness,” said Rick Lawlor, vice president of retail marketing for Hess Corp. “That’s exactly where we are today.”
Building on its dedication to customer service, Hess has become the leading independent gasoline convenience store marketer on the East Coast, with more than 1,350 Hess-branded sites in 16 states from New Hampshire to Florida. Annual convenience store revenues in 2008, excluding petroleum products, were approximately $1.1 billion, and annual fuel volume in 2008 was approximately 2.2 billion gallons for company-owned locations.
With headquarters in Woodbridge, N.J., Hess has designed its convenience stores to offer customers the convenience of one-stop shopping. The Hess value proposition is “Fast, Fun, and Family,” which promises a great shopping experience for everyone in the family with excellent customer service and good values.
In the past decade, Hess has invested significantly in its stores and introduced a variety of fast food offerings to its larger sites, including Blimpie sandwiches, Godfather’s Pizzas and other name brands. In 2007, Hess signed an exclusive agreement with Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, to offer high-quality coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts. Today, this unique self-service Dunkin’ Donuts offering is available in 250 Hess Express locations, with more to come.
A proprietary inventory management system called InSite has been rolled out to all Hess Express locations. It ensures stores have the optimum levels of inventory and provides necessary information for making decisions about marketing, store layout, product placement and more. Hess also introduced “The Hess Way,” a comprehensive approach to hiring, retaining and training employees to deliver a consistent, high-quality customer experience. The program also focuses on developing employees in their careers with the oil company.
Hess has expanded its chain over the years through new builds and acquisitions. In fact, since 2000, Hess acquired more than 260 sites, including 11 Christy’s of Cape Cod locations this year. Looking ahead, Hess plans to continue its growth in key East Coast markets through selective acquisitions and new site development.
“While we’ve reaped the benefits of our strategy, we also see real opportunities to raise the bar even higher,” said Lawlor. “We are as dedicated as we’ve ever been to finding new ways to delight our customers each and every time they come to a Hess Express.”