cenex gets in style

Generation Image Renewal program calls for the renovation of the chain’s 1,600 convenience stores and the addition of 550 more.

Cenex, the convenience-retailing brand of CHS Inc., islaunching a multimillion-dollar rebranding and expansioneffort that will elevate the chain’s visibility in smalland major markets and enhance its overall competitiveviability.

As part of its “Generation Image Renewal,” Cenex is launchingthe next generation of its brand, which establishes a fresh, consistentimage at all 1,600 branded Cenex convenience stores and gas stations.The renovation addresses the demands of “today’s consumersand re-instills a positive impression of the brand,” the company said.

Aside from the major renovation to reinvigorate brand identityand increase customers, the Cenex image refresh effort calls for theaddition of 550 new sites over the next four years, or slightly more than11 stores per month through 2011. The company said it plans to focusits expansion in major metropolitan areas, while maintaining growthin many rural areas.

“Our objective is to create an appealing brand for our consumersand our independent brand marketers alike,” said Doug Dorfman,brand, product and marketing manager, refined of fuels for the InnerGrove Heights, Minn.-based retail group. “Consumers need to feelgood about shopping at Cenex, and marketers must feel proud todisplay the Cenex brand at their site.”

Brighter Future
Changes to the Cenex brand identity at each site include a newlook for the canopy, fuel price signs and gasoline pumps. Additionally,most sites will receive brighter paint colors, new lighting and digitalsignage. “The upgrades create a more modern destination and aconvenient place to fuel that meets the needs of our customers,”Dorfman said.

Throughout the renovation process, CHS’s focus is onensuring that current Cenex marketers and end customersexperience a smooth transition. To that end,CHS said it would fund the majority of the costs associatedwith the upgrade through low-interest loanscontingent on standard supply branding agreements.CHS will also support its marketers throughthe entire upgrade process in terms of providingquick access to new equipment, such as improvedfuel pumps and technology hardware and software,and approved contractors to complete theupgrades.

Sites will remain open for operation duringconstruction. CHS will also provide marketers with advertising andcommunication tools, grand reopening plans and more to help storesintroduce their new look to customers and community members.

“We have stores that have been in the system for as long as thebrand has been around, and we have new sites coming on boardevery day,” Dorfman said. “The new image needs to appeal to all marketersincluding the seasoned, the new and those coming on boardin the future.”

Long-Term Impact
These aggressive moves for Cenex come at an interesting time forthe member-owned petroleum brand, operated by more than 1,600local cooperatives, independent retailers and Cenex-branded marketersfrom the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest and from theCanadian border to Texas.

Competition for fueldollars is fierce and marginsare depressed, butdemand throughout itsMidwest markets is soaring.Cenex has the infrastructureand marketing reachto build an even moreloyal customer base.

The brand operatesrefineries in McPherson,Kan. and Laurel, Mont. that produce more than 130,000 barrels (5.5million gallons) of fuel daily, and it continues to upgrade the refineriesto meet changing gasoline and diesel fuel emissions requirements,Dorfman said. In terms of distribution, Cenex fuel products are movedvia 1,200 miles of company-owned pipelines and a truckfleet logging 20 million miles a year.

To attract customers and grow new retail business,the chain will also heavily emphasize the conveniencestore as another strong destination on the lot.The company is encouraging marketers to utilize theCenex Ampride store brand, which boasts strong in-storefoodservice and bakery programs along with thePremium Harvest coffee brand and the Splash fountainbeverage offering.

The chain will also get a boost from its CenexbrandedVisa card, a burgeoning consumer loyaltycard and a proprietary fleet fueling card.

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