There are many common characteristics that comprise Convenience Store Decisions’ Chain of the Year winners. They are retail leaders, innovative marketers, committed to employees and completely driven by a service-first culture.
Maverik Inc. embodies all of these wonderful attributes and much, much more. So it is with great pleasure that Convenience Store Decisions announces Maverik as its 24th annual Convenience Store Chain of the Year award recipient for 2013.
“This is a great honor that I’m proud to share with all of our employees,” said Brad Call, vice president of adventure culture for the Salt Lake City-based chain. “This is a wonderful industry with many great operators. To be mentioned alongside the previous winners of this award validates the hard work we do every day to create an awesome experience for our customers.”
Maverik quite simply encompasses everything a convenience store chain should be: innovative, fun, daring, exciting. But what stands out most of all is its unwavering dedication to the customer experience. Where many companies spend countless hours trying to promote their brand, Maverik has created a unique ‘adventure first’ culture in the community, and at the center of this adventure culture is Maverik.
Under the direction of Mike Call, Maverik’s chief adventure guide, and Brad Call, the chain has created a dynamic brand that intimately connects with customers of the Mountain West.
“We are strong believers of promoting our adventure image through touch marketing where we interact daily with our customers in their own communities,” Brad Call said. “I believe the key for survival for all companies, however, is really knowing the customer, understanding their desires and utilizing deep, sophisticated targeted marketing to reach them. To that end, we have created the most robust app technology and best loyalty program in the industry. We’re good, but not yet great. The future is exciting.”
Maverik is guided by its Five Core Values, which are being Customer Fanatics; Big Time Thinkers; Value Drivers; Leaders Who Serve; and Adventure Guides.
The company targets specific customer segments to personally meet their needs, such as women with children, blue collar, white collar, emerging adults, Hispanics, healthy lifestyle and, of course, the outdoor adventurer. This customer-focused philosophy has paid off with overwhelming brand satisfaction, customer loyalty and company growth. Maverik has opened about 20 new stores per year for the past five years.
Tied to the Community
Today, Maverik fuels adventures in more than 260 locations across 10 western states. It’s known for its premium BonFire foodservice line—made fresh daily in every Maverik store—and extensive line of proprietary products, such as Bundles, Bodacious Bean coffee, cinnamon rolls, breakfast sandwiches, burritos, hoagies, Chill Latte, Glacier X Sports Drink, Mt. Mavalanche Frozen Yogurt and more.
In the community, Maverik supports hundreds of local events with giveaways, product sampling and selling and promotions, featuring the Maverik Monster Truck and Big Air, Maverik’s own hot air balloon. The company also has teamed with the Maverik Events Center in West Valley City, Utah; the Real Salt Lake Soccer team; and numerous college teams to promote Adventure’s First Stop.
“Our commitment to truly understand and serve customers has led us to take a fresh new perspective to the way we approach every aspect of our business,” Mike Call said. “Thrilling specific customer segments is our mission and appealing to those customers drives our efforts. From business objectives, cultural values, organizational structure and product selection to investment priorities, growth strategies, interaction with business partners and how we operate our stores, we are focused on our chosen customers. We call it becoming “Customer Fanatics.” We’re somewhat early in this journey but we’re definitely headed in the right direction. Serving customers this way requires a new mindset, a determination to overcome traditional influences and is totally a blast.”
A new Call family member recently joined the Maverik adventure team. Crystal Call Maggelet, the daughter of Jay Call, founder of Flying J, recently made a majority investment in Maverik and is now on board providing additional growth capital and strategic direction for the company.
Long History of Engagement
Maverik has been a part of the community for three generations. The company was founded in 1928 by Mike and Brad Call’s grandfather, Reuel Call, who opened his first gas station in Afton, Wyo. Call decided to take gasoline to the people when few customers were coming to the station (primarily because very few people even had cars). He rigged up an old Ford and with a pole running across the dashboard and attached two barrels—one hanging outside the driver’s side door and one hanging outside the passenger’s side door—to bring gasoline directly to farmers to fuel their tractors. The foundation for the innovative spirit that continues to thrive at Maverik was born.
In commercials, advertisements and in-store marketing materials, Maverik is portrayed not as that place you have to stop to pick up things on your way to and from work, but as the first place to stop between daily adventures. And Maverik is very much a part of that adventure.
Sometimes you think you know what your customers want, but you really don’t know until you ask…and listen. That’s what Maverik c-stores found out about the Adventure Club loyalty rewards program, which the company revamped in 2013 after almost a dozen years.
The company’s recently supercharged Adventure Club Rewards program is truly ahead of its time with industry-first features, such as a real-time Punch-It! virtual punch card and weekly sweepstakes prizes that customers can enter to win using Trail Points earned with every purchase. The Adventure Club is also integrated with the new Maverik App that puts all the features and benefits of the rewards program at the customer’s fingertips, along with a host of other unique features.
The Maverik ACH debit card, for example, offers customers a six-cent discount off the pump price every time the card is swiped. But that wasn’t enough, Brad Call said. So the company developed a patent pending benefit called competitive price match by partnering with Gas Buddy to track local competitors’ fuel prices in the market. If Maverik isn’t the lowest pump price in the marketing area, competitive price match rolls the price back to that of the lowest competitor for Maverik ACH cardholders.
Trail Points can be redeemed in two ways. Customers can “Win Stuff” by entering sweepstakes with their points or they can “Buy Stuff” from Maverik’s collection of proprietary merchandise that ranges from gift cards and shirts to travel coffee mugs. Soon they will have a third option enabling them to be able to “Give Stuff” by donating their Trail Points to their choice of non-profit groups to which Maverik will make cash donations. Customers can allocate as many points as they wish to each redemption category.
“After talking directly to customers in our stores for more than a year and listening to what they were saying when they called our customer service people, we discovered that not everyone wanted a Lamborghini, and many of our customers wanted more immediate benefits from their cards,” said Ernie Harker, Maverik’s executive director of CREATE (Culture, Research, Events, Advertising, Themeing and Excitement) and brand manager. Harker expects the “Give Stuff” option to be a big win/win for both Maverik and the community.
Maverik has already previewed the feature, inviting customers to donate their Trail Points to the Red Cross tornado relief effort in Oklahoma and the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake homeless shelter. When Draper, Utah, Police Sgt. Derek Johnson was killed in the line of duty, nearly 500,000 Trail Points were donated to his memorial fund for his wife and son. Maverik matched the donations, resulting in a total donation of $10,000.
As of early September, Maverik has more than 270,000 Chrome Card members and more than 42,000 Black Debit Card members. Each day, about 750 customers activate their cards, meaning that they go online and enter their personal information into the system. Card activation is required to use Trail Points and participate in the “Punch-It” program.
Maverik is aggressively promoting the Adventure Club Rewards program in-store as well as externally through billboards, radio, television and social media. Since the new program began in February, 94 million points have been earned and 14 million spent, Harker noted. Also, 1.4 million punches have been earned and more than 119,000 fountain drinks given away.
Sweepstakes can be as short as a week or as long as several months. Prizes can range from tickets to a sporting event to $1,000 shopping sprees at popular retailers. Other prizes include a trip to a NASCAR race or Fiji, a Yamaha Motorcycle, Sierra RV Trailer or even a Chevy Silverado. Almost all of the prizes are provided by Maverik’s vendors and suppliers. The company has averaged 20 winners a month during 2013, Harker said.
“It is this kind of innovation and connection with the customers that sets Maverik apart from its peers,” said Tom McIntyre, group publisher for Convenience Store Decisions. “The Call family’s leadership in building a dynamic company so committed to its employees and customer service is another reminder that family-owned businesses continue to be such an important part of our industry.” CSD
What the Industry is saying about Maverik:
“Being selected as 2012 Chain of the Year was an honor, and having the opportunity to present this award to our friends at Maverik is a privilege. Brad is a close friend and someone that engaged me very early in my career in convenience. Brad has never had a problem getting in touch with his inner maverick to fight for his company and our industry. He is as passionate as he is professional, and he’s never afraid to tell you what’s on his mind. I consider myself fortunate to call him a friend, and I am thrilled to present him and Mike with this year’s Chain of the Year trophy.”
President and CEO, Tedeschi Food Shops
2012 Chain of the Year
“The Rutter’s team has admired and respected the Maverik brand for a long time. I had the privilege to serve on the NACS Board with Mike Call and to learn from him. Under the leadership of Mike, Brad and the extended Call family, my Rutter’s team has studied their many innovative ideas and approaches to wowing their customers. Years ago when we were looking to introduce our own rewards program, the Maverik team were the first people we called. They not only welcomed us to visit with their team and tour their stores, but they also were most gracious with their time and insights. Our industry’s backbone is made up of family businesses like theirs and is so much stronger due to their involvement and vision. From our family to yours, congratulations to the entire Maverik team on an honor so well deserved!”
President and CEO, Rutter’s Farm Stores
2010 Chain of the Year
“I have had the distinct pleasure to serve with Mike Call on the NACS Research Committee, and with Brad Call on the NACS Board, Executive Committee and the NACS/Coca Cola Research Council. They are truly innovative and creative marketers and industry leaders. At Nice N Easy, we’ve always prided ourselves on doing things differently and forging our own path. We feel a true kinship with Maverik in that regard. I’m not sure there’s a company within our industry so in tune with their specific customer base and surrounding demographics, and so willing to go out on a limb. Maverik is a great addition to the impressive line of Convenience Store Decisions’ Chains of the Year.”
Senior Executive Vice President, Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes
2009 Chain of the Year
“Brad and the team at Maverik are a unique bunch, to say the least! They have “adventure” in their mission statement and they live it every day. All of us at Kwik Trip have known the Maverik team for years and have participated in many share groups and NACS meetings with them. They are a leader in the industry and we are proud to have them as a fellow Convenience Store Decisions Convenience Store Chain of the Year winner.”
Vice President of Operations Support, Kwik Trip Inc.
2004 Chain of the Year
“I have only known Brad for a few short years, but we have recently agreed to join a share group that Maverik participates in. Maverik’s involvement in this group was a driving force behind our decision to join since I have never seen a company more dedicated to the brand they have created. From the way they have designed their offer to match their customers’ lifestyles to the creative ways they celebrate store openings, to even the titles they give to their leadership team, Maverik makes sure that they are consistently focused on and true to their brand.”
President, Sheetz Inc.
1994 Chain of the Year
“I first met Mike Call as he sat next to me on the NACS Board when I first joined. Quiet and reserved…and shook hands like most normal men. Then I met Brad, and I was confused. In all honesty I couldn’t be more proud of the friendship I’ve established with Brad and his wife Teresa. They are great people and have a passion for life that is second to none. I’ve come to know the Maverik brand as I’ve traveled around…most recently to a new store they opened not far from one of mine. They have such a unique and rich history, making them truly a great American story. Their stores are unlike any others in the industry. They are and will continue to be a force in this industry. I look forward to my adventures with Brad as a friend and as our next chairman of NACS. Congratulations Brad, Mike and the Maverik team. Very well deserved.”
President and CEO, J.D. Carpenter Cos.
“Maverik has really carved out a unique niche in a very competitive industry. They’ve developed a great brand and Brad Call is a great marketer.”
President, Miller Oil Co.
“The Maverik brand is innovative, cutting edge, unique and simply awesome. As for Brad, he is truly one of the smartest, sharpest, most passionate, but, more importantly, one of the kindest and most decent people I’ve ever met, a man I’m proud to call one of my closest friends.”
President, J&T Management Inc.
“The Maverik store experience, the Maverik marketing strategy and the Maverik brand are excitement and adventure. It’s very impressive to see a strategy executed so well.”
President and CEO, Robinson Oil Co.
ABOUT THE CHAIN OF THE YEAR AWARD
CSD’s Chain of the Year award annually honors a convenience store or petroleum chain that has established itself as a superior retailer and innovator in its markets of operation. CSD’s first Chain of the Year award was given to Wawa Inc. in 1990. Maverik Inc. follows 2012 Chain of the Year winner, Tedeschi Food Shops.
PAST CHAIN OF THE YEAR WINNERS
• 1990 – Wawa Inc.
• 1991 – SuperAmerica
• 1992 – QuikTrip Corp.
• 1993 – Casey’s General Stores Inc.
• 1994 – Sheetz Inc.
• 1995 – Diamond Shamrock Corp.
• 1996 – Mapco Express
• 1997 – Speedway Inc.
• 1998 – Krause Gentle Corp.
• 1999 – Dairy Mart Inc.
• 2000 – Amerada Hess Corp.
• 2001 – Huck’s Food & Fuel
• 2002 – Petro-Canada
• 2003 – Exxon Mobil Corp.
• 2004 – Kwik Trip Inc.
• 2005 – 7-Eleven Inc.
• 2006 – Valero Inc.
• 2007 – Alimentation Couche-Tard
• 2008 – Chevron Inc.
• 2009 – Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes
• 2010 – Rutter’s Farm Stores
• 2011 – Thorntons Inc.
• 2012 – Tedeschi Food Shop
• 2013 – Maverik Inc.