Brad Rosa, General Manager of the Cottonwood Oil Company Cenex and Sandy Kolhei, the C-Store Manager, had a dream of building a new, modern convenience store for the members of their small community. Brad had been working for the company for over 30 years and Sandy had managed the C-Store for 20 years. The building that they were in didn’t have enough freezer space for both the retail side of the store and their kitchen that provided tasty grab-and-go deli food to customers. Additionally, the kitchen was tucked in the back of the building and not very noticeable to people who walked into the store. Brad and Sandy had vision for a new store with an open floor plan, expanded kitchen, and better lighting to make their products more visible.
Cottonwood Oil Company had been a long time customer of Westmor. Brad and Sandy had built relationships with members of the Westmor service team over the years. The service techs fixed mechanical and electrical issues with the fuel pumps and troubleshot problems that the store had with their point-of-sale computer systems. Through those relationships, “We found out that Westmor had a C-Store development side of the company,” said Brad. “They’ve been a really good business partner of ours and we didn’t really think of going anywhere else,” he continued, describing how he and Sandy chose Westmor to manage the construction of their new dream store. “Way before anybody knew that we were thinking about building a store, we discussed if we wanted to work with Westmor. And hands down, we wanted them to be part of this,” said Sandy.
“We contacted Westmor and sat down with them—started talking about how we wanted things to be laid out,” said Sandy. The Construction Management Team encouraged Brad and Sandy to visit a few other locations where Westmor had helped build C-Stores previously. Brad explained, “They gave us ideas and were very integral in coordinating everything to make sure that we knew what we wanted and would get what we wanted.”
The store was built by incorporating a new architectural design—with timber pillars out front on the outside and high cedar ceilings. “The things that I really enjoy about this is the construction on the outside to get somebody in the door and the ‘wow factor’ when they walk in and see the products displayed,” said Brad.
During construction of the new building, special attention was paid to the kitchen, which was designed with its own freezer and cooler space. The new kitchen allows the store to serve pizza, fried chicken, a daily entree special, as well as a variety of breakfast foods. Brad commented, “Basically, it’s a convenience store with fast food.”
An employee break room was also added to the new store in addition to bigger bathrooms for the customers and a separate bathroom for employees. The floor plan was completely redesigned as well. Sandy says, “I feel like it’s got a really good flow to it and it’s really open.”
Once the store was finished, Brad and Sandy planned and held a grand opening to invite the community to see what the new store had to offer. Community members gathered in the store’s expanded seating area and enjoyed free samples of all the new food that the full-size kitchen is now capable of preparing.
Construction workers and members of Westmor’s team were also invited to enjoy the grand opening celebration. “We want to return some gratitude toward them for being a part of this construction project,” says Brad. He continues, “I very much am a Westmor supporter. They’re very cordial and they give you the customer service that you don’t get with somebody else.” Sandy adds, “I would recommend working with Westmor because they listen. They are willing to work with you and they answer your questions.”