Pump N Pantry Convenience Stores Inc.
Pump N Pantry offers its customers fresh food in a hometown setting.
When customers come to a Pump N Pantry location, they get the experience of visiting a local, hometown store. “We feel our customers know us,” Wade Robinson says, noting that the company accomplishes this by having a strong involvement in its local communities.
These include giving donations to local student sports teams as well as Boys and Girls Scouts programs. “We are extremely, extremely active,” he asserts. “If there’s something in a community, we’re involved in it.”
Robinson is the supervisor of foodservice for the Montrose, Pa.-based company, which operates 15 locations in northeast Pennsylvania that sell quality food, snacks and fuel to its customers. Pump N Pantry’s history goes back to 1975, when J. Thomas Quigg purchased a home heating fuel company.
Quigg drove a delivery truck and serviced customers for many years, but opened his first convenience store in 1985. Over the years, he grew his chain, which now has 14 locations that primarily specialize in foodservice and one that is a full service gas station.
Robinson joined Pump N Pantry in January 2000 after graduating from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Sociology. However, “For all four years in college, I worked in the foodservice program on campus,” he recalls.
When he went to work for a Finish Line store at a local mall, he met Vice President Sam Anderson, a fellow Penn State alum who was the director of store operations for Pump N Pantry at the time. “He told me to put in an application,” Robinson says.
Anderson hired Robinson, who after managing the company’s best foodservice store for 12 years, began his current role as the supervisor of foodservice. Today, he is proud of Pump N Pantry and the level of food that it offers.
“One thing I’ve said since I was managing is we’re not a gas station that sells food,” he says. ”We are the local pizzeria and the local sub shop that happens to sell gas.”
All of the pizza that its locations sell, Robinson notes, is made fresh daily with high-quality products, including meat from Hillshire Farm. “They’re a very good partner,” he says. “We’re not using a frozen pre-topped product.”
Pump N Pantry also has ensured food freshness by implementing a DateCode Genie label printer at its locations. Through its system, “I’m able to program all of our hold times and shelf life times remotely through the cloud and then do updates to each store’s label printer,” he describes.
This helps eliminate guesswork at the store level. For example, if an employee prints a label for a cheeseburger that is placed in a display case, “The quality hold time is on the label,” he says.
“They don’t need to think about it or write it,” he continues. “It’s already on that label. I’m proud we were able to introduce that this past summer. It’s been a huge success.”
Robinson has implemented other initiatives at Pump N Pantry, including an online ordering platform. “This year, I’ve been expanding it,” he describes.
“Almost every store is now capable of taking online orders, which I have set up through our website,” he continues, noting that the orders are received via an Android tablet at the stores.
“We’ve really had a lot of success with online ordering,” Robinson says, noting this program exceeded his own personal expectations. “I’d like to be able to accept online payments as well.”
A Fun Place
Robinson has enjoyed his time at Pump N Pantry. “It’s a fun, friendly family atmosphere,” he describes. “I did not think back in 2000 I would be at the same company for 20 years.
“It’s been good to me,” he says, noting that it is a place where people wear many hats, including its senior managers. “Our vice president has been with the company 23 years and he has absolutely no problem untucking his shirt and getting his hands dirty.
“I see him do it all and he’s out every week in a store doing something,” Robinson continues, noting that this sets Pump N Pantry apart. “[We have] people doing multiple jobs.”
Robinson predicts continued growth ahead for the company. “Our owner, Scott Quigg, is always looking for the future,” he says, noting that Quigg has invested in remodeling stores, so Pump N Pantry will have the best looks, equipment and people in its markets.
“Most of the stores were built in the ‘80s and early ‘90s,” he says, noting that these investments will allow them to be more modern. “Some stores also are seeing an expansion to help them become a little bit larger to help accommodate our growing foodservice.”