C-Store Stands Out with Renewable Fuels

Fontana Truck Stop Center is attracting customers with its diverse renewable fuels line-up.

By Troy Shoen

Everyone who operates a convenience store knows that the real estate saying of “location, location, location” is especially true for their business.

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But even a great location is only as good as the value of the products offered. Giving customers what they want is the key to driving traffic, and that is not just what you are offering inside the store.

A c-store The Renewable Energy Group (REG) works with, Fontana Truck Stop Center, figured that out some time ago. When it comes to location, the retailer hits a home run. It’s located by two interstates with lots of traffic heading into and out of Los Angeles. It’s also in an industrial area populated with distribution centers, manufacturers and equipment dealerships.

But the competition for all those drivers and in-store customers is fierce. To stand out, Fontana Truck Stop Center has tapped into the sustainability trend by offering renewable fuels, including biodiesel and a blend of biodiesel and renewable diesel called REG Ultra Clean Diesel.

The c-store began selling biodiesel blends in 2015.

“Biodiesel is better for the environment than regular diesel,” said Abdul Mardini, the truck stop’s general manager. “It also gives us an advantage on the price we pay for fuel. At the same time, we can offer it to the drivers at a lower price. And it gives us an advantage on the truck stops that don’t use it.”

In 2017, Fontana Truck Stop Center began also offering renewable diesel for similar reasons: sustainability and economics. Then REG made it aware that renewable diesel and biodiesel could be blended together.

Now, the truck stop is attracting customers with its diverse fuel line-up. But renewable fuels have done more than drive business to the pumps. By attracting drivers, they’ve also given a boost to other higher-margin products and services, such as in-store food sales, a detail center and a truck wash.

“I’ve told many friends of mine, as well as competitors who have truck stops, that renewable fuels are a good thing to have,” said Fontana Truck Stop Co-Owner Lonnie Tabbaa. “It’s clean for the environment, you can make a better margin on the fuels and the drivers are fine with it. There are no issues.”

Troy Shoen is senior manager, marketing, at REG, a leading biodiesel and renewable diesel producer.