Convenience stores are everywhere, a place to pull in, fill up your tank, grab a coffee and go on your way. But what sets one place apart from all the others?
That was the dilemma Rick and Cindy Goodman faced when they purchased the Prescott Deli and Texaco Convenience Store in 2014. They understood the business was depressed, but they had previously invested in a floundering Florida coffee business and, in seven years, turned that around to sell at a profit. So, knowing that they had done it before, they weren’t intimidated when they acquired the Texaco market with its marginal profits.
As both families were located on the west coast, Prescott, with its moderate climate and convivial community was the perfect location for them. Also, Rick is a car enthusiast and this area offers clubs and shows in which he can participate and Cindy, planning to obtain a degree in nursing, can attend Yavapai College’s excellent program. So, they purchased and plunged in to turn the convenience store into a profit making enterprise.
This proved to be much more difficult than they had anticipated. Eventually, Cindy’s sister suggested they contact SCORE. Now they call SCORE “angels of mercy in the small business world.”
They began working with SCORE about six months after buying the business. Rick drolly remarked that, “SCORE rescued us.” What they didn’t know and had to understand was that a convenience market functions quite differently than most other retail businesses and this particular convenience store was located in an industrial section of town. They were assigned to Dick Milon, who stepped in and analyzed everything from the deli menu to the placement of shelving, coolers and products.
Realigning the deli menu was the first thing addressed. Next they worked on the pricing structure and setting up the interior to accommodate market flow. The store had an outdoor patio that provided warm weather seating and a grill and smoker. Rick, among his many abilities, is a barbecue enthusiast. This expertise allowed them to expand on the deli portion of the business. Rick smokes his ribs and meats for seven hours and then puts them on the grill for a superior barbeque. The burgers are seven ounces, hand-pressed, seasoned and marinated overnight and then grilled, resulting in juicy, flavorful sandwiches.
After the menu and interior ergonomic issues were addressed, Dick tackled the marketing plan with Rick and Cindy. They began targeting nearby businesses, such as the motels, Yavapai College and the many industries in the area. They’ve contracted for radio advertisements and have strategically distributed flyers and menus.
Next, they refined their inventory, eliminating items that were not selling and replacing them with items their customers were requesting. They contacted vendors and replaced aging coolers, coffee and soda machines with up-to-date equipment. The coffee grind was replaced with a high-end blend, providing flavor and aroma. Deli hours are Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Plans for the near future are: providing a catering and delivery service for local businesses and small venues such as family parties or game day home events; covering a portion of the patio so the grill can be easily operated even in the most inclement weather; bringing in additional inside seating; and periodic reevaluation of the stock to keep it rotating to bring in seasonal items.
Over the time they have had the business the Goodman’s have increased their profits about 45 percent; they now have steady customers, some who order food almost daily. In addition to the tourists that flock to the area, they now serve local customers.
"The SCORE mentors are not only knowledgeable and highly skilled, they bring an attitude of enthusiasm, encouragement, compassion and persistence, as well as common sense and direction," Cindy said.