With a focus in rethinking refuel stores, Lonnie McQuirter is making an impact on employees and the local community. McQuirter (30), the owner of 36 Lyn in Minneapolis, MN, has been working to change the traditional convenience store business model stating, “This industry has been product centered for far too long and we want to get customer centered.” In order to make the types of changes McQuirter is driving, he needs the right people to help implement them. He recognizes the important role his employees play in the shift to a more customer-centric business. In addition to photos of his team of employees, the store’s website lists “Our Core Values” which include excellent customer service, impeccable retail standards, and a desire to expand knowledge and skill.
When asked about the way he helps employees gain new skills and meet the high customer service standards he has set, McQuirter stated they are all expected to be a lot more than a cashier and must be a part of the local community. He discussed how they are encouraged to share and discuss news articles and opinion columns to help them better understand their customers stopping in on their way to a long day at work. With a focus on offering customers more local and healthy product options, McQuirter also brings his team to area businesses to be better informed about the products they offer and how to operate the equipment to brew the coffee just right.
Truman Danz, who has been with 36 Lyn for two years, said of his experience, “I would say that working in a company that values employee and customer interaction is exciting and liberating. Retail is very customer centric now but in most places that only means bending over backwards to accommodate instead of interacting and engaging to find out the why. I value being able to have those interactions because I think they lead to us being able to better serve our core customers.”
McQuirter also stressed the importance of developing “right brain” skill sets because skills like creative thinking have intangible value and can transfer to other jobs. He sees a lot of benefit to placing such a focus on helping the members of his team learn and grow saying that they are “more engaged” and see that “hard work is important.”