When Nouria Energy Corp. decided to launch a new retail location, the company wanted the concept to expand behind fuel. “We knew that our brand stands for more than fuel, but that our focus had been fragmented across many different brands, with each location named either after the town it operated in or with a generic name,” said Joe Hamza, COO of retail and marketing for the Nouria Energy Corp. “We wanted to create a brand cohesion that would help customers know what to expect when entering one of our stores.”
In September 2018, a new nouria store opened in Lewiston, Maine, after nearly three years of planning. “We had to design the concept from the building to the graphics to the product mix and wanted to make sure it was going to be done in the best way possible,” Hamza said. “We wanted the store to match our vision for the future of our company.”
Nouria Energy took its time because it wasn’t launching just a new concept—it was preparing to debut a new brand. “We’re using this store as the basis for rebranding our other locations with new looks and graphics,” he said. The company will retrofit existing sites with the new branding or raze and rebuild stores in the new nouria way whenever possible.
Starting With Food
The journey began with an emphasis on healthy foods and beverages. “Foodservice is a big part of our business,” Hamza said. “At some locations, it’s the largest category within those stores.” Currently, only 20% of its current stores have full-service foodservice operations, but Nouria Energy is remodeling the ones it can to fulfill the new concept’s food vision.
The company already had in place a proprietary commissary program that provides freshly made grab-and-go items, such as packaged sandwiches, salads and parfaits, to all locations three to four times weekly. At some locations, Noura Energy also worked with co-branded foodservice operations, but rather than go with national brands, the company picked local restaurants. “We decided it was better to partner with existing foodservice brands with strong local connections, at some stores,” he said.
Nouria Energy strives to create cohesion across all stores through branding of its new nouria concept.
But the new store needed to have its own customized and unique menu, so its kitchen churns out made-to-order breakfast sandwiches, salads and subs. The new concept also has a robust coffee service, including specialty and espresso drinks. “Foodservice is one of our unique points because we have so much in the way of private label and proprietary offerings,” Hamza said.
We wanted the store to match our vision for the future of our company.
Continuing With Community
The other point of differentiation for Nouria Energy is its focus on customers. To educate all employees on the Nouria Energy way, the company created a new training program that reflected its new values and principles. “We wanted to educate, empower, inspire, incentivize and instill accountability at all levels in our stores,” Hamza said. “We knew that having an educated workforce would help our associates become great ambassadors for our new brand.”
Nouria employees strive to “delight our customers every day. We take so much pride in how our employees treat our customers,” Hamza said. That high level of service translates into customers feeling warmly welcomed from the moment they step inside the store.
Hamza takes customer service so seriously that for the first week nouria was open, he stood out front and opened the door for customers eight hours a day. “This was a great way for me to get instant feedback about the new concept from people who had no idea who I was,” he said.
Nouria Energy interacts with customers on social media too. “We’re building our digital media strategy and have become more active on Facebook and Twitter, as well as via our website, so that we can have communication with our customers,” Hamza said.
The company also looks for ways to give back to the community. “We believe in education—it’s one of the top values of our company—so we try to look for education causes that are important in the communities where we have stores,” he said.
A Flourishing Future
While the nouria concept showcases the new ideas behind Nouria Energy, the company continues to focus on creating the ultimate customer experience through an inviting environment. “We all know people are time-starved, so they are only in our store for a few minutes,” Hamza said. “But we want those to be the best few minutes they have all day.”