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CMS Fueling Center Rocks at Retail

Posted in: Truckstop Travels

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At CMS Fueling Center in Lapeer, Michigan, inside sales are king, and the location does more retail sales than diesel sales a month, which is impressive. Everyone within the location is focused on knowing what the local community wants, allowing CMS Fueling Center to do an amazing job of generating sales from their customers.

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Watching Butch Yerian, president of the company, in action is like watching a movie about how to do everything right. He focuses on the experience and the customer. He doesn’t get into price wars with his competition. He stays with what he knows, which is having good, quality offerings, unique beer offerings and an incredibly clean location outside and inside regardless of the age of the building and making people feel good about the store.

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CMS Fueling Center does really well on inside sales for every gallon of diesel pumped. Their metrics when comparing sales to gallons are significantly better than anyone in the industry that I have visited with. Yerian is often inside the store and uses his time there to understand who his customers are. If he doesn’t know a customer, he will go and get to know them. He carries products that are specifically for the people shopping with him. 

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Yerian is a beer fanatic, and he saw craft beers as a way to grow sales. The decision has worked and CMS is known for its craft beer selection. The craft beers set them apart and make people go out of their way to stop at the location. The signage above the cooler highlights some of the fun and unique beer brands CMS carries. Yerian has a phenomenal range of beers, but even more importantly, if customers want a certain beer, he will find it for them. Many of his Canadian customers make a point to shop with him to buy something special. 

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People really are first at the location, and Yerian knows customers by their first names and goes out of his way to meet their needs. There are many examples of his and his staff’s customer-comes-first-mentality, such as when he saw someone outside with a dog during the sweltering summer heat, he brought the customer’s dog a pale of ice cold water. Another customer had a glitch with her credit card, which wouldn’t process, and only had Canadian currency. Yerian quickly calculated the conversion rate and accepted her currency so she could get her products and head on her way.  

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The location is branded Marathon, but you don’t get the sense that customers are loyal to the Marathon brand. They are loyal to CMS. They like the personal touch. It is not uncommon for the location’s staff to look at the name on the credit cards they are swiping and thank customers by their first names. That attention to detail and the personal touches throughout the location are just some of the reasons customers keep coming back. 

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/// Did you know most weeks you can find me visiting a NATSO member truckstop location, spending three to four days, using my merchandising and operations expertise to help them grow their business? 

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 Photos Credit: Darren Schulte

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.