By Leah Vanden Bosch
With a competitive petroleum sales market and convenience stores on seemingly every corner, third generation owner and president of Howes Oil, Andy Howes, wanted to create innovation within his family’s business. Howes Oil is a petroleum wholesaler and distributor based out of Sioux Falls.
The 77-year-old company did business with various suppliers throughout its history, but the household franchise names were proving difficult to work with. Howes believed his company could experience greater success outside of “cookie-cutter” business methods. Wanting to create a more individual, home-town feel for customers, Howes started working with the marketing company Fresh Produce, presenting them with the idea of the “Local” in January 2012.
The year was spent developing Howes’ concept, protecting his ideas, and trademarking the name and imaging. The resulting brand has become “Local Zip,” with each individual convenience store having its own, unique name, personalized by the store location’s zip code. The main idea behind Howes’ brand was for every convenience store to be independently owned and have complete control over how its business was run.
“No one better understands how to make a store successful than the people who own and operate it every day,” said Howes. “They know their customers best, and they know what they need to have in their store.”
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