September 22, 2019
Winterizing The C-Store
The Summer is a very busy season for c-stores. It’s typically the time when retailers experience their highest traffic counts, sales and margins. Unfortunately, like all good things, Summer ends and retailers need to mark its passage by preparing their store for the Fall/Winter season. This includes making sure your facility is ready to handle the harsh winter conditions, that you have the proper services lined up and that you have made the necessary adjustments in your products and merchandising.
This process should begin with making sure the exterior of your store, the canopy, and the dispensers are ready for Fall. One example is to make sure + your window washing equipment is ready. That can include replacing any missing or worn out squeegees, window washing fluid holders that don’t leak, etc.
Or are there repairs and/or maintenance that you should have done but have not had the time? Time is getting short to get them done before winter begins. Maybe that coat of paint looked fine in the Spring when you were preparing for Summer, but will it last through the Fall/Winter or should it be handled now.
Have you contacted your door mat company? Make sure that you have the necessary “Slippery When Wet” warning cones so when the floors get wet with snow and slush you have warned your customers to be careful. All Summer you worried that your air conditioner was going to work well. Are you prepared for heating your store?
Is your snow plowing lined up? Do they have new personnel who need to understand where the snow has to go on your lot? If not, now is the time to alert them. Do your employees know where you want them to park their cars?
Be sure to check you’re ready to meet your customers’ car related needs. Most retailers try to place an early quantity buy on windshield washing fluid. Have you? Did you remember to stock up ice scrappers, fuel line additives, etc.
Speaking of products – what are your plans for those items you brought in for the Summer season that haven’t sold? If they can be returned to the vendor(s), now is the time to ensure that they are. If not, do you want to box them up for next year? Reduce the price for a quick sale? Donate them to someone? One thing you definitely do not want to do is leave them on the shelf. They aren’t going to sell. What they will do is get dusty and waste very valuable shelf space.
Many c-store retailers reset selected categories to reflect the impact the changing seasons have on sales. This may be the time to look at your cooler and determine does it reflect what I will be selling this winter?
You know that the Fall and Winter seasons are right around the corner. Take the time to determine what you need to do to get ready. Start now and enjoy a successful Fall and Winter season.