KCI Car Care Center - Kathy Crum
CarterEnergy began working with Kathy Crum and KCI Care Care Center in December 1997. Since then, we have completely razed and modeled the whole facility (bays excluded) and put in a new forecourt, increasing the dispenser count from four to five. According to Area Manager, Dave Achten (pictured left, with Kathy), “It was quite a journey—ten years in the making!”
Kathy’s business model consists of a full line convenience store that now includes beer and alcohol, as well as a three-bay repair shop where customers can get minor work completed when they travel. Services include State Inspections, Oil Changes, Brake Work and other miscellaneous repairs. Her valet service, where customers can park and ride, can accommodate up to 100 cars, taking the stress out of catching the bus to and from the terminals. They also have a beautiful Phillips branded forecourt that can fuel up to ten cars at a time and at peak times, they are lined up out the drive!
Since the site has been rebuilt, the store’s customer base has steadily increased through aggressive advertising via our relationship with Soren Petro, whose sports talk radio, The Program, runs on Sports Radio 810 WHB from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Soren conducts his radio show live on site twice per year and promotes valet parking at a daily rate of $8.10 per day (normally priced at $12 per day). This promotion has resulted in immediate traffic spikes and they have picked up (and kept) a lot of new customers.
We asked Kathy to share some of her other challenges and experiences with us:
What inspired you to get into the convenience store business?
Since the early 70’s, I have been involved in the Service Station industry in one way or another. I have been part owner in a Mobil, Getty, Texaco, Conoco, and finally a Phillips 66 station. I also had a ladies’ and children’s clothing store for fourteen years!
What challenges have you faced with your business and what have you done to address them?
KCI Care Care Center is such a unique business. Situated inside the airport, I am constantly being challenged by a revolving clientele. People from all over the world visit the station when they fuel their rental cars. Each and every day we have a new cast of customers. We try very hard to give good customer service and provide a clean environment. The second part of the business is our Valet Service and Automotive Repair. People leave their cars with us when they go out of town. Keeping up with the automotive industry is also a revolving business. Having good mechanics makes this possible.
What makes you different?
What sets KCI Car Care apart from other convenience stores is our location and the many facets of this business. We are the only Service Station inside an airport in the United States. Not only does this make us different, it also adds to our success.
I have been partnered with CarterEnergy for over 30 years. Why? Because they are the best. My rep has been one of the most important ingredients in building KCI Car Care. He has worked with me step by step in renovating the business and helping me grow the business. He has been relentless in his determination to make it the very best it can be.
What are some possible future plans for your store?
I am so proud of KCI Car Care and all that it has become. My hope for the future is to continue on the path that we are on. My employees are so dedicated and do such a great job that I feel so blessed. I could not do it without them.
As for plans, we are looking at expanding our parking options to support our growing valet business and are also working on a new website for later this year at www. kcicarcare.com.
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