The editors and Editorial Advisory Board of Convenience Store Decisions are proud to honor Family Express as the 2015 Chain of the Year.
C-store retailers can join the celebration during the NACS Show, on Monday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Nirvana Pool inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. CSD’s Chain of the Year ceremony, an annual event for 26 years, is designed to allow the convenience store and petroleum industry to show its support for Family Express, gain insight into their success and network with peers in a relaxing and fun environment.
The Chain of the Year award is the oldest and most prestigious award for convenience retailing in the industry. Family Express will supplant Atlanta-based RaceTrac Petroleum as Chain of the Year, considered the gold standard in convenience store retailing.
“I have observed Family Express and its evolution for close to 20 years, and the chain continues to amaze me with its innovation and daily commitment to being one of the finest convenience store operators in the industry,” said John Lofstock, vice president and editor-in-chief of Convenience Store Decisions. “There are chains that are bigger, but there is no one that works harder than Family Express, and we’re proud to recognize their commitment to excellence in convenience retailing.”
“Words can’t express how honored we are for Family Express being recognized,” said Gus Olympidis, founder, president and CEO of Family Express. “Our focus has always been on customers, employees and community, and not on ourselves. We will cherish this moment in gratitude for our supplier partners and the relationships of a lifetime that this great industry has afforded us.”
Today, the company operates 65 convenience stores in Indiana and continues to be family-owned and operated by the Olympidis family. Olympidis’s sons, Spiro, Dimitri and Alex have joined their father in the family business.
Over the years, family-owned Family Express has not been afraid to take risks in its pursuit of retail excellence. In 2010, the chain opened its own 150,000-square-foot distribution center. Just three years later, it added a central bakery, where today it produces thousands of doughnuts, muffins, cookies and other pastries that are delivered to its convenience stores daily.
It is committed to the “living brand” concept. The living brand encompasses all that Family Express has become, and all it hopes to be. It’s the company’s connection with building relationships with every customer it intercepts. The living brand is a palpable entity that signifies trust, commands respect and guarantees a standard of excellence that employees carry with pride and customers have come to expect during each visit to Family Express. It literally permeates all aspects of the chain and lives on in perpetuity through each employee.
To foster the living brand, the company built a $4 million, 30,000-square-foot headquarters/learning center in Valparaiso featuring a full-scale, functioning Family Express store to train employees and test new products. Adjacent to the training store is a state-of-the-art learning center where an employee in training is subjected to about 50 modules of custom computer-based curriculum. The headquarters also includes a state-of-the art fitness center that is available for all company employees and their families.
Just 80% of those invited to training achieve graduation and gain permanent employment with Family Express.
Close to a year ago, Family Express announced the “YOU MATTER!” initiative. The announcement articulated Family Express’ plan to start an hourly wage of $10 per hour months before Walmart had announced its intention of moving its starting wage to $9 per hour sometime in the future.
While most companies hire with the intention of teaching new employees retail skills, Family Express focuses on a person’s natural inclination to “relationship,” and simply allows and encourages them to build relationships. The Family Express workforce may be the most productive sales force in the convenience store industry. Family Express’ frontline employees generate a remarkable $150 on in-store sales per labor hour.
“It is this kind of innovation and connection with the customers that sets Family Express apart from its peers,” said Tom McIntyre, group publisher for Convenience Store Decisions. “The Olympidis family’s leadership in building a dynamic company so committed to its employees, its customers and the community is another reminder that family-owned businesses continue to be such an important part of our industry.”
Convenience store owners and executive operators interested in more information can contact: