Publication: CSP

How Wawa’s Canopy Took Wing

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March 17, 2017

The story behind the iconic shape that came to symbolize the c-store chain’s brand promise

The angled, wing-shaped canopy that covers Wawa’s fuel islands is as powerful a branding tool as the price sign—if not more so. How it came to be an iconic element of the chain’s sites is a story about how design can elevate a brand.

In the mid-1990s, the Wawa, Pa.-based chain was looking to enter the gasoline business and wanted to make a statement with its fuel island. Mariellyn Zeock served as Wawa’s manager of architectural design at the time. She had never designed a fuel canopy before but was tasked with coming up with design ideas for that first fuel site in Millsboro, Del. So she drove around the area to look at local examples.

“I noticed that they were all the same—all really heavy on top,” Zeock, now retired, told CSP Fuels. “What if we just made it lighter, thinner and exposed the structure?”

The architectural team—which included Zeock and the late Jim Dodrill—got the go-ahead to pursue the idea from Peter Gilligan, then director of construction and engineering (and the recently retired vice president of real estate for Wawa). Dodrill worked with […]

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5 Reasons to Make Over Your Fuel Canopy

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January 1, 2017

The gasoline canopy: For most of its existence, it has been a function-first structure, there to provide shelter from the weather and lend light at night.

And in the 50 years since states began legalizing self-serve gas pumps, the canopy has largely retained the shape that reflects this practical purpose: the rectangle. Pure economics has bested creativity, keeping this architectural element frozen in time. “In the United States, you have so many legacy sites that have been around for so long that to tear [the canopy] down … it’s easier to repaint, restripe and reclad what already exists,” says Joe Bona, founding partner and president of retail design firm MoseleyBona Retail, Franklin, Mass.

But as fuel’s share of overall c-store profits continues to fall and in-store profitability rises, it’s time to redefine the canopy’s function and reconsider its investment potential. Yes, it still needs to protect customers from rain and sun. But the entire forecourt can do so much more.

“It’s one of first things you see, a piece of communication that really reaches out, grabs people’s attention and signals the business that you’re in,” says Bona, who has designed canopies for retailers such as Wawa in the United States, […]

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Millers Lets the ‘Swoosh’ Go

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November 2, 2015

Brand refresh puts convenience-store retailer front and center for growth

It’s Millers time.

Miller Oil Co., Norfolk, Va., is part-way through a dramatic facelift for its convenience stores, one that will place its own store brand front and center. “If you look at the progressive marketers out there, everyone is trying to stay current and relevant,” president Jeff Miller told CSP Daily News. “Part of it is value, part of it is product selection and part of it is image. We’ve put off the image part for quite a while, and now we’re finally addressing it.”

The journey started on the forecourt. Some of Miller’s major-oil branding contracts were expiring, and the retailer saw it as an opportunity to expand its private brand. The 50-site chain competes with the likes of Wawa, RaceTrac, Royal Farms and 7-Eleven, and so building up the Millers brand is key. Miller points to a site on the campus of Old Dominion University, which sells Shell-branded fuel, as an example.

“You could probably walk through campus and ask kids about Millers. Some would know it was there, some not,” he said. “Ask about the Shell and they would say, ‘Oh yeah!’

“We have been working […]

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Theme Parkifying, Corner Grabbing & Side Selling

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January 16, 2015

CBX reveals real-estate trends that will spark retail creativity in 2015

As retailers try to squeeze more sales-per-square-foot out of smaller spaces over the next year, they will be forced to get more creative–even partnering with each other to make their stores more compelling, said Dave Weinberger, vice president and director of engagement for CBX, the brand agency and retail design consultancy, according to a report by Chain Store Age.

Real-estate pressures will drive four trends in the year ahead, all of which are related to better understanding and catering to today’s shoppers.

“Consumers are shopping more often and making smaller trips,” Weinberger said. “Because of this, retailers are not just shifting to smaller formats; they are also taking increased note of how people shop and why their habits are changing.”

He described:

Theme Parkifying. A way to give shoppers an exciting experience that happens to be convenient as well. He cited the Chicago and New York locations of Eataly as a possible source of inspiration for chains seeking to innovate in this way.

“Sometimes likened to a grocery store with tasting rooms, the Italian food and wine emporium offers a compelling mix of retail, restaurants, food and beverage stations, […]

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Putting the Sun Back in Sunkist

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June 1, 2014

Design firm brings California cool to a legacy brand

“Orange is orange is orange is orange.” That was the challenge design firm CBX faced last year when it was tasked with giving the Sunkist soda brand a redesign. “Unlike the stalwarts of Coke and Pepsi, or even specific flavors like Dr Pepper … the three orange [soft-drink] players are perceived as similar,” says Satoru Wakeshima, general manager at New York-based CBX.

CBX had to take its client Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s venerable Sunkist brand and elevate it above all other orange sodas. In order to do that, says Wakeshima, “you need to give people a reason to believe.”

The brand’s heritage stems from the original Sunkist fruit growers. And a certain segment of the population still has a nostalgic fondness for that brand legacy. But that’s not whom the company was targeting.

“How can we make people fall in love with Sunkist again? How do we make it relevant to a younger audience?” says Wakeshima. “How can we get them to really feel like this is a brand that is relevant attitudinally?”

To help get inspired, CBX designers decked out their studio war room in California “beach chic.” Real sand […]

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Retailer Challenge: Reinvent Yourself

March 7, 2014

Veteran store designer highlights the need to emotionally connect with shoppers

As technology transforms multi-channel retail into hyper-channel, “always-on” retailing, chains must emotionally connect with consumers as never before, advised veteran store designer Joseph Bona during a Feb. 19 speech at EuroShop, the global trade fair.

“Emotion plus theatrics equals experience,” said Bona, president, branded environments for CBX, the New York City-based brand agency and retail design consultancy that has had a hand in numerous convenience store designs.

“Storytelling ability, in particular, helps you create engaging experiences, and the memory of those experiences can inspire consumers by adding excitement and drama to routine transactions,” Bona said. “Ultimately, this is what energizes brand culture and drives long-term customer loyalty, even in a world perpetually driven to digital distraction.”

Bona’s presentation—“Format Reinvention: the Changing Face of Retail”—highlighted the need for retailers to further rethink the function of their brick-and-mortar stores. Today’s “always on” environment doesn’t only mean that people can buy whatever they want using their phones and tablets, it also means they can use GPS- and cloud-enabled tools to find the very best retail and dining experiences available to them, wherever they happen to be in the world, Bona said.

“Physical […]

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Defining Your Brand

October 17, 2013

NACS Show: It’s more than a logo or a look, experts say

A once-bitten fruit. A red bull’s eye. A green mermaid.

They are not just an apple or a dart’s destination or a mythical creature of beauty and mystery. They are the iconic signatures that require neither words nor clues to know their owners.

Are these images what made Apple, Target and Starbucks the irresistible brands they are today, or are they the embroidery woven into a culture–the cues of brands we trust?

This critical question was the subject in a provocative session called CEO’s Own Your Brand. The 50-minute session, which many executives later hailed as the best among a rich schedule of education at the NACS Show, featured Quinn Ricker , president and CEO at Anderson, Ind.-based Ricker Oil Co.; Joe Bona, retail division president at New York City-based designers CBX; and Scott Willy, co-owner of Indianapolis-based creative specialists Three Sixty Group.

To many, brand is synonymous with logo. Wrong, said Bona.

Logos are the signposts, the winks of a brand with which you want to do business. “Apple has changed the meaning of an apple,” he said. “Sometimes, [logos] are the symbol without the word. […]

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CBX Wins Design Firm of the Year Honor

October 3, 2013

Convenience store and retail designer CBX was named Design Firm of the Year in Display & Design Ideas magazine’s Portfolio Awards 2013. The New York-based brand agency and retail design consultancy, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, was also lauded for its contribution to one of the Best Store Designs of the Year–the redesign of Saks Fifth Avenue’s men’s store in Beverly Hills, Calif.

DDI’s annual Portfolio Awards are the result of a reader-driven survey in which high-level retail and contract design professionals offer their picks for the best in design and branding over the past year.

CBX was recognized for work on such diverse projects as Duane Reade’s New York City stores; Lord & Taylor, metro Philadelphia; Saks Fifth Avenue’s Beverly Hills men’s store; Radio Shack locations across the United States; and the Terpel convenience stores and fuel centers in Columbia.

In the “Best Store Designs of the Year” category, the firm was recognized for its contribution to the transformation of Saks’ men’s store in Beverly Hills into The Fifth Man, a 54,000-square-foot, four-level lifestyle store. The project was led by Saks’ in-house design team with the assistance of CBX and Los Angeles-based Marmol Radziner.

CBX is […]

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Better Than ‘Almost As Good:’ Successful retailers of private label eschew comparisons to “big brands”

October 9, 2012

LAS VEGAS — An impressive 85% of consumers purchasing private-label products “feel good” about doing so, while only 3% feel “embarrassed,” Todd Maute, partner at global branding firm CBX, told a diverse group of retailers attending the “Private Label Profit Puzzle” educational session at the 2012 NACS Show in Las Vegas on Sunday.

“Private label is a hot commodity and is in the news a lot these days,” he said. But it’s not all good news.

“Much of [private label’s] recent growth has been driven by the sluggish economy and is the result of consumers ‘trading down’ in search of better price values,” Maute said. “If economic weakness is driving much of the growth in private label, this says to me that companies have not done a good job of repositioning their private-label brands in the customer’s mind.”

According to Maute, one of the biggest problems is that private-label purveyors are content when private-label offerings are viewed as an “almost as good” cheaper alternative to big brand names.

The two retailers joining Maute for the session have found private-label success by identifying segments where national brands don’t necessarily represent the best value as well as developing a private-label offering that […]

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Wawa Continues Opening ‘First Five’ in Florida

August 2, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. & CADIZ, Ky. — Two major convenience chains have celebrated expansion into new states. Wawa Inc. has opened the second and third of its first five stores in five weeks slated for the Greater Orlando area in central Florida. And Casey’s General Stores Inc. has opened its first store in Kentucky.

During this grand opening events, local officials, heroes and community members joined Wawa for ribbon-cutting ceremonies, sampling of Wawa products and a charitable hoagie building competitions featuring the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County Fire & Rescue and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department and the Osceola County Fire EMS, respectively, where the stores are located.

The grand opening events also continue to fuel Wawa’s partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. It has committed to donating a portion of hoagie sales for the stores (up to $5,000 per store) to the organization, with a goal to raise and donate $25,000 in five weeks time, and help fight hunger in the Orlando community.

The fourth store is scheduled to open on August 8 and the fifth store on August 15.

Click here for CSP Daily News and CSPTV coverage of Wawa’s Florida debut. […]

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