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MONROE, N.C. -- Olin Furr and his wife, Amy, are not strangers to the convenience store business. They have operated as BP jobbers for more than 20 years at Monroe Oil Co., and actually bought the company from its original owners seven years ago. Monroe operates a few c-stores, including a truck stop, but none of them ever had their own brand identity -- until the creation of its new Fill Good store.
"We wanted to break out and do something different," Olin Furr told CSNews Online.
The owners purchased land in Waxhaw, N.C., and built a new 3,400-square-foot location from the ground up, which includes a car wash and a 1,400-square-foot restaurant leased to Rock Store Bar-B-Q. Additionally, the new store is in an upscale neighborhood and the design reflects that, he noted.
The Furrs hired a local designer to create a new name, logo and design for the Waxhaw location, and chose Gay McGee Diller of Gay Diller Designs, who also worked with the general contractor, Cummings Construction Corp. of Matthews, N.C., and Diversified Signs and Graphics of York, S.C.
To come up with the perfect name, Diller sat down with the owners to brainstorm, writing down words that reflected the message they wanted to communicate. "I wanted to tie it into a gas station, and Fill Good popped into my mind," she recalled.
The interior is based on a retro theme, so the logo, which eventually became the store's mascot, features a smiling gas pump with the tagline, "It's all right here," based on the look of an old gas pump. "I thought it would be a good idea to create a smiling, friendly character to offer a message about good service," Diller explained.
From the old-fashioned pump on the logo to the hand-painted mural of a blue sky on the interior walls, the overall feel of Fill Good is a modern take on the retro gas stations of the '40s and '50s, Diller said.
"The color palate is reminiscent of the '40s and '50s. I used the hand-painted blue sky and chose blue and red because I wanted it to be friendly and happy," she said. "Also, when I think of the old cars like Thunderbirds and Mustangs, I think of candy-apple red or turquoise colors."
Looking at overall sales, tobacco is king at Fill Good, followed by packaged beverages, fountain and then foodservice.
The location specializes in ice, offering 20-pound bags for only $2, which Olin Furr explained helps to draw people into the store to buy other items. And while the store offers a good wine selection -- with a full cooler door of white wine -- its 9-foot by 13-foot beer cave is the real attraction. Designed to look like a vault, it features a faux vault-door design on the side of the actual entrance to the cave.
The Fill Good store opened July 1 and the company plans to revamp other locations to reflect the new brand.
"Quik Trip is going to build 50 stores around here, so we are going to have to step everything up," Olin Furr said.