Stephanie Istre, c-store assistant manager (from left), Patrick Gilliam, general manager for c-stores, Greg Barro, owner, and Sheilah Broussard, back-office manager, pose in front of their remodeled store.
Frog City Travel Plaza in Rayne, Louisiana, is a favorite destination stop for truckers, travelers and locals, and it is drawing them in with multiple food offerings, unique items and its local flair. Grego Barro, owner and operator of the location, is keeping Frog City fresh and beautiful with a recent c-store renovation and new gas pumps, and he focuses on customer service.
“You have to give immediate attention to your customers' needs and make sure your location is extremely clean,” Barro said, adding that he pays top dollars for quality staff, which are a crucial part of the operation.
Frog City has 35 to 40 full-time employees, and Barro said working with them is the best part of the business. The second best part is the customers. “I love my people and like making the customer happy,” he said.
The location sits on I-10, which has a very heavy truck count. It has five diesel lanes and 70 truck parking spaces. Frog City sells about 6,000 gallons per day and sees 200 truckers daily.
Frog City, which is also an AMBEST location, recently completed a half-million dollar renovation in mid-2017, which included rebranding the c-store to Circle K on the Run. The c-store, which is about 1,300 square feet, has already seen a 16 percent increase in sales. “No one does c-stores better than Circle K,” Barro said.
They’ve also been able to cut costs. As part of their relationship with On the Run, they can use Circle K’s negotiating rates on things, which helps overall operations. “It is a challenging business on rather thin margins. You have to bring your ‘A’ game,” Barro.
Frog City focused on making the location warm and welcoming and helped achieve the feel with a floor that looks like distressed wood but is made of industrial vinyl. They have black gondolas and plan to add rock stone to the beer cave.
The c-store renovation took about two months and created a bit of a hassle for customers, but Barro said they understood. Many even thanked them for giving back to the community.
Multiple Food Offerings
Frog City’s management understands there are different types of customers and added a Krispy Krunchy Chicken, a quick-serv offering, as part of the renovation. The addition of the quick-serve restaurant hasn’t impacted sales of the sit-down restaurant.
Rayne is the frog capital of the world, and Frog City taps into the local flair. There are frogs on everything from its signage to its menu. The location has frog ashtrays, frog t-shirts and frog souvenirs, which appeal to tourists traveling through the area.
The location also draws on the Cajun heritage within Louisiana and offers Cajun hot sauces and spices, which are perfect for travelers wanting to take home a souvenir of the south or locals who have a taste for spicy items.
The sit-down restaurant at the location features Cajun fare, including frog legs, which draws the theme all the way through.
Frog City also incorporated murals done by a local artist into its décor. One is what the town of Rayne used to look like and the other is of frogs.
The location doesn’t just draw on the local community for inspiration, it gives back to those within the area and sponsors sports teams, law enforcement, schools and more.
Barro owns and operates four truckstops. All of the locations are on the same back-office system, called SSCS, which helps with continuity and operations as all of the accounting personel can see information remotely. Circle K was on the same system, which made the rebranding seamless.
Barro plans to continue making investments in the location. They have a new novelty area coming and plan to eventually remodel the restaurant.
Photo credit: Amy Toner/NATSO
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