It also has greater flexibility for us to act on trends in the coming years," said Allison Moran, senior vice president of the company's RaceTrac division.
Moran and Billy Milam, the retailer's senior vice president of store development and the company's RaceWay division, provided CSNews with an exclusive interview about the development of the new RaceTrac prototype.
and Milam spearheaded the RT6K project, but the entire company - all individuals at the Store Support Center and Store Operations
- had input into the new prototype, which debuted in Acworth, Ga., in January.
According to Moran
and Milam, planning for the RT6K
began in 2010.
"At that time, we had not drastically modified the interior layout of our stores in almost seven years, yet our model had been evolving over that time period," said Moran
"We wanted to break the mold, to be perceived as a neighborhood store that is beyond the typical convenience retailer and closer to a QSR," said Allison Moran, RaceTrac's senior vice president.
Breaking the Mold
From the beginning, RaceTrac's
team wanted to have a softer, more open feel to the store.
It sought to incorporate a more intuitive design for guests and more flexibility for the retailer to create opportunities as they develop within the retail landscape.
"We wanted to break the mold, to be perceived as a neighborhood store that is beyond the typical convenience retailer and closer to a QSR [quick-service restaurant]," said Moran
, who added that one of the key references that shaped their thinking was the work done in 2009 by the NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council
"Finding Your Way Forward," the Council's report, "framed a lot of our thinking and gave us a platform from which we launched much of our initial planning and considerations," she
Inside the store, the RT6K
allocates more space to immediate consumables like food and dispensed beverages within the sales area.
However, most of the expansion in the store footprint, according to Moran
and Milam, is in the areas of the store that guests never see.
"Our store teams told us the backroom in our stores was tight and somewhat inefficient," said Moran
"We focused on making our team members' lives simpler and more enjoyable by increasing the size and backroom adjacencies and making space on the sales floor so tasks are completed more readily, thus giving our team members more time to serve our guests."
is brighter, more open and more intuitive for our guests.
It also has greater flexibility for us to act on trends in the coming years."
- Allison Moran, RaceTrac Petroleum
From left: Store Manager Chuck Adams, RaceTrac Senior VP Allison Moran, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood, RaceTrac President Max Lenker, Georgia Community Partnerships Manager Kristi McLinskey and Georgia Director of Operations Eric Ritter celebrate the opening of the RT6K prototype in Acworth, Ga.
"We had to analyze every aspect of our operation and consider what changes needed to be made throughout the system so we could get the most out of our investment," said Moran
has received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from both customers and employees who love the new RT6K. prototype.
To do this effectively, RaceTrac
involved individuals from all over the organization.
"We asked them to candidly identify the pain points of our current store model.
We sought their input and feedback on the new design and even developed a mock store so our team members could walk the environment and genuinely experience the design," Moran
and Milam said all of RaceTrac's
major markets will have at least one RT6K by the end of October, with Atlanta leading the way with six prototypes this year.
and Milam said they've received overwhelmingly positive feedback from their guests and even store associates.
Everyone not only wants an RT6K
in their market, but they are clamoring for an opportunity to work in one," said Moran
Despite the positive results and reviews, RaceTrac views RT6K as a work in progress still.
"It's in our DNA to continually innovate and improve," said Moran
, whose father is company chairman, CEO and 2009 CSNewsHall of Famer Carl Bolch Jr. "But we're obviously very proud of all the hard work our team put into this store."