Almost immediately following the Oct. 1, 2018, combination of MPC and Andeavor, Speedway began the process of converting approximately 200 SuperAmerica locations in Minnesota to Speedway convenience stores. The first conversion occurred on Oct. 8, just one week after closing. Following an aggressive schedule, the goal is to complete all conversions before the end of the year. Up to seven stores are converted daily.
A typical conversion is completed in less than 24 hours, with dedicated teams from many departments. Typically, the store closes at 4 a.m. as a SuperAmerica and reopens before 6 a.m. the next morning as a Speedway. “There could be anywhere from 15-20 people working on each store during conversion, including contractors who handle large outside signage and Speedway maintenance technicians who manage the installation of the point-of-sale devices, back office systems, and Speedy Rewards terminals,” said Tony Carf, Speedway’s temporary director of special projects – Operations and Marketing. “In addition, auditors account for the store’s cash and inventory, and a marketing team works on planograms, discontinued items, product pricing, and promotional signage. There is a lot of activity, and everyone knows their roles.”
Exterior changes include the installation of Speedway signage on the canopy and over the building entrance, along with EMV dispenser upgrades and other exterior branding and signage. The biggest change inside the stores is the addition of the Speedy Rewards program and its related signage, as well as Speedway’s back office inventory management system.
Rebranding stores is only one step of the conversion process. Another team is responsible for transitioning SuperAmerica employees into Speedway employees. Buddy general managers (GMs) and district managers (DMs) are training former SuperAmerica employees on Speedway systems, policies and processes. “We have had great support from those who raised their hands to help train the Minnesota GMs,” said Speedway’s Temporary Manager of Conversion Support Suzanne Chambers. “We’ve sent over 150 individuals to support the conversions on the buddy GM/DM side, and we’ve also had many other individuals with boots on the ground supporting the process.”
Buddy GMs and DMs spend up to two weeks on assignment and attend an orientation class to help prepare them for their responsibilities. Once SuperAmerica stores have been converted, the GMs attend a one-day class focused on back office applications and store processes while the buddy GMs handle daily store operations in their absence. In the end, the goal is to keep the customers happy and employees engaged with all the changes.
“This kind of effort only happens with the skill and dedication of an army of support personnel, many of whom are away from home for weeks at a time,” said Speedway’s Director of Conversion and Integration Paul Ricci, who is leading the project. “Success of each conversion comes down to committed and enthusiastic employees, executing at a high level. We are asking a lot of the team and they are delivering.”