Servicing Customers in a Jiffy

Jiffy Trip is preparing to unveil a convenience store prototype in Oklahoma and has its sights set on acquisition opportunities.

By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor

Jiffy Trip is gearing up for a busy year. The 28-store chain  based in Enid, Okla. is scouring the market for acquisition targets to fulfill its lofty plans to grow the business by 30% over the next five years. The chain is also set to break ground on a new 3,000-square foot prototype store, featuring a beverage drive-through—taking speedy service to the max.

Owned and operated by Hammer Williams Co., Jiffy Trip is, as President Kyle Williams puts it, “one of the most diversified companies out there.” The company not only runs the Jiffy Trip brand, but also operates radio stations—including one of the largest regional country stations in Oklahoma—a state radio network, an oil and gas drilling company, a gas hauling company and two Jack’s convenience stores in Oklahoma.

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Five of the Jiffy Trip sites offer Conoco-branded gasoline, with the other 23 locations featuring Jiffy Trip branded fuels.
“For the most part, we’ve been focused on converting stations to our own Jiffy Trip brand of gas. That is going to be our gas model going forward,” Williams said. “We really do not see ourselves working with major brands to the extent that we once did. We’ll always have Conoco at a couple locations, but our business model moving forward is all Jiffy Trip.”  

Breaking New Ground
Within the next three months, Jiffy Trip is set to begin construction on a new site in Newkirk, Okla. that will serve as a prototype store for future units.

The Newkirk site has been in operation for 25 years. Adjacent to its existing store sits a property the company has owned for years—waiting for the perfect time to develop the location. The company will use the property to build the prototype store while the existing store remains open during the construction. Once the new store is open, the old site will be demolished and used as an expanded parking lot.

 “It’s a great community and it’s a great store that has always performed well for us, but it was time for an upgrade,” Williams said.

Jiffy Trip partnered with Paragon Design Systems out of Fort Worth, Texas, which designed the store with a green and orange color scheme. The new store also features an updated graphics package, which is set to be installed by Texas-based Infiniti Decor.

The Newkirk store will draw on the modern design of a recently revamped store in Mannford, Okla., also designed by Paragon. “In Mannford, we constructed the new location around the existing store without having to stop business,” said Bryan Riley, director of business development for Hammer Williams Co. “Although the Newkirk design is not exactly the same as the one for Mannford, we are going to try to build this one without interrupting business as well. This is going to be our new prototype for future development.”

One of the standout features of the Newkirk store design is its drive-through where customers can order beverages from a five-door walk-in cooler, featuring top-selling beverages that are visible behind 12 feet of glass.

“In the c-store industry, when you exclude tobacco and fountain and foodservice, 65% of our gross profit revenue comes out of walk-ins, so we need to provide very fast service, and with a large variety,” Williams said. “Customers can pick up beer, waters, juices and soft drinks. This gives us an opportunity to serve a lot more customers without them having to get out of the car.”

Store employees will take the customers’ orders while they are standing within an arm’s length of the cooler doors. “This option is all about speed. You’ve got to be fast,” Williams said.

Given the gross profits contributions from cold vault sales, Jiffy Trip is upping its cooler capacity with the prototype unit. The store will feature 19 cooler doors, including a beer cave and freezer doors, plus the five-door walk-in cooler for the drive-through for a grand total of 24 cooler doors in the store. “It’s more than we traditionally have in rural Oklahoma by almost double,” Williams said. “But we’re confident this concept will be very well received. More importantly, we will be focused on re-merchandizing our cold vault repeatedly until we find the right mix.”

If the drive-through concept proves successful, Jiffy Trip would like to roll it out to all new stores going forward.

Delving Into Foodservice
In addition to transforming its c-stores, Jiffy Trip recognized the importance of a solid foodservice offering. It recently inked a deal to open three Subway sandwich shops, one of which is scheduled for the Newkirk prototype. Another Subway is scheduled to open in July in the chain’s Medford, Okla., followed by one in Cherokee, Okla.

Already, 14 Jiffy Trip stores offer some form of prepared on-site foodservice beyond pre-wrapped deli sandwiches, including pizza, bean burritos and chicken wings. A few stores feature flat grills and make hamburgers cooked to order, and about half the stores offer deep fryers.

“We have not historically been very uniform with our foodservice offerings. But as we develop Subway and internally hire someone to truly manage all of our foodservice offerings, we hope to standardize the menus,” Riley said. “In the past we’ve grown by acquisitions in small communities and often we have been restricted to the kinds of foods they have historically offered in their locations.”

Planning Ahead
Jiffy Trip’s No. 1 goal for the future is to operate debt free. “We’re almost there,” said Williams. “We have been on a regimen for the last six years of acquiring the balance of our real estate that we lease. We have three stores out there today where we do not own all the property, and we believe you need to own everything.”

The company has also been focused on its internal operations and technology systems, including making upgrades with Professional Datasolutions Inc. (PDI) and Radiant Systems, and incorporating some new business intelligence software.
“We’ve been looking for acquisitions in the Oklahoma City, Okla. market, but haven’t found the right deals out there. In the next five years we aim to grow 30%, but we do not grow for numbers sake—we grow when it makes sense,” Williams said.

Until then, Jiffy Trip continues to differentiate itself with its community-minded focus, such as conducting fundraisers for groups like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. “We do derive our revenue from small communities, so we participate in those communities and give back,” Williams said. “If there are school events, we’re generally involved on some level. We like to be a good steward.”

At A Glance: Jiffy Trip Convenience Stores

Jiffy Trip, a division of Hammer Williams Co., was founded by K. V. Williams and Larry Hammer, who bought and opened the first Jiffy Trip c-store in Cherokee Okla. in 1971. After Larry Hammer passed away, the Williams family acquired 100% of the company. K.V. Williams’ son, Kyle Williams, took over as president of the firm in 2003. Kyle’s son, Alex, is learning the ropes as a store manager, marking the family’s third generation in the industry. Today, Jiffy Trip operates 28 stores primarily in rural markets in northwest Oklahoma.
Founded: 1971
Convenience Store Brands: Jiffy Trip and Jack’s
Fuel Brands: Conoco and Jiffy Trip
Executive Team:
Kyle Williams, President and CEO
K.V. Williams, Chairman
Larry Leathers, Chief Operating Officer
Mark Holloway, Chief Information Officer
Ron Lukenbaugh, Marketing Manager