Introduction

On the I-85 route between Atlanta, GA, and Montgomery, AL, the distances between exits are not too long, and the opportunities to fill up a gas tank are many. Halfway between those two large cities sits Valley, AL, the perfect place to stop for a fill-up and a snack. The traffic and sales are brisk for the gas stations in the area, but the competition is tough, especially from the major oil company brands and their more appealing, big-brand imagery.

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Challenge

The challenges of operating on I-85 were obvious to Chiranji Sharma, a veteran of twenty years in the gas station and truck stop channels and the owner of a truck stop on I-85 in Valley. For many years, Sharma had operated a truck stop under the Jet-Pep brand name, enjoying the fruits of his labor but feeling the need for a change to better compete with the major brands nearby.

Sharma began to research his options, focusing on raising his location’s customer appeal and increasing his return on investment. He first looked to the major oil company brands but found quickly that their many restrictions hampered his ability to operate with the control he needed. He also discovered that his margins and, thus, his ROI would not increase but shrunk due to higher fuel costs and credit card fees.

Sharma found himself considering second-tier gasoline brands, but those offered little help raising his truck stop’s profile or customer appeal.

Solution

After a thorough analysis and many brands eliminated from consideration, Sharma decided to go with VP Racing Fuels’ branded station program. Sharma says that VP offered him everything for which he was searching. “VP offers a program that lets the gas station or truck stop owner stay in charge of their own business, says Sharma. “VP is a unique, premium brand that doesn’t strap you with big oil pricing so that I can make strong margins overall.”

Benefits

The Branded Retail program from VP Racing Fuels offered several advantages to Sharma to improve his retail customer appeal and profitability while maintaining total control of his business. The most significant benefits VP brought Sharma were:

  • Reimaging his truck stop with the look and feel of a premium lifestyle brand.
  • Offering him a line of premium products like race fuel, Madditive® additives, motor oil, and more.
  • Supporting his sales with premium marketing and consultation.
  • Allowing him to buy wholesale gasoline and diesel fuel at competitive prices for enhanced margins at the pump and allowing him total control of his business.
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Result

All of Sharma’s business metrics now point to success. Across the location’s eight pumps, gasoline and diesel sales have increased substantially, with premium gas sales up over 100% and diesel sales showing a marked tick up.

In addition to Sharma’s considerable plus-sales at the forecourts, his in-store sales have shot up an impressive 50%, adding high-margin sales to the top line. A significant part of the in-store sales increases come from the addition of VP’s professional-grade consumer products and promotional products, including Madditive® fuel and oil additives, motor oils, and outdoor equipment fuels and lubricants, plus VP-branded t-shirts and travel mugs.

Sharma attributes a good deal of his sales increases overall to VP’s marketing support and lifestyle identity. He says he has never experienced such support in his career, and he feels that VP’s 45-year racing heritage adds a unique lifestyle appeal to his location that no other brand can match.

Despite being near truck stops and gas stations of the major oil brands, Sharma beams when asked about his past year’s experience. “I researched completely, and I chose wisely,” he remarks, “being part of the VP network across the country has put my business on the map.”

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