Nov. 1 Grand Re-Opening Planned for Tribal Convenience Stores
By Joe Morey
A new retail plan is currently being organized for the tribe’s retail outlets, which include the LCO Country Store, LCO Quick Stop, LCO C1 and C2 Convenience Stores. The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) retained Blue Stone Strategic Group to do some reorganizing within the tribal outlets to turn the operations around and show profitability.
A grand re-opening of a newly-structured C2 Travel Plaza and C1 Convenience Store is set for November 1st. Part of the re-structure includes expanding C2 into a full tobacco shop and liquor store with expanded beer, wine and liquor sales. Most of the alcohol and tobacco sales and stock from C1 will be moved into C2. This move will free up space and visibility within the C1 store but will continue the overstock of alcohol and tobacco since there is such a high volume of sales. There will also be no back stocked beer on the C1 floor with all product stored in the walk-in coolers.
TGB member Tweed Shuman said this will reduce clutter in the C1 store and allow employees behind the counter to clearly see the entire store. Currently, the cigarette storage area limits what the clerks can see happening in the store.
The new concept for the C2 Travel Plaza will focus more on tobacco and liquor sales. Tribal member gas discounts will also be added to C2 and continue at the other locations.
“We’ll also be adding a section in C2 for auto parts and ATV parts because we’re right off the ATV and snowmobile trail right there, and gear for recreational tourists such as camping and fishing,” Shuman said. “Blue Stone recommended this addition and the TGB fully supports the idea.”
Both convenience stores will have new shelving and layouts of the floor plans, which are being handled by LCO Development. Part of the shelving plan at C2 will include new shelves constructed by LCO Development for a tobacco area to hold the large amount of inventory.
The C1 will also be getting a new modernized and restructured cashier area that will allow the clerks to face the entire floor area.
Shuman explained Blue Stone was retained to conduct an assessment of LCO retail operations and was granted access to financial information, physical inspection of the properties as well as interviews with key personnel and staff.
After the analysis was complete, Blue Stone made a series of recommendations to improve the efficiency of the operations and increase profits. The recommendations were based on financial goals for 2020 which Blue Stone estimates will bring in an additional $1.3 million of net profits to the retail operations budget.
According to Blue Stone, estimated additional profits could be seen as follows; LCO Country Store $450,799; Convenience Center $277,779; Quick Stop $270,578; Travel Plaza $242,532; the Landing $77,123 for a total of $1,318,811.
As part of the overall retail plan for all tribal outlets, Series 2K (Backoffice) will be fully implemented as the new Point of Sale software to better control inventory.
“Series2k was never fully implemented and now needs a full reboot, updated software and hardware upgrade,” Blue Stone’s plan noted. They said the reboot will take the system to cloud based. The TGB approved $12,000 for the upgrade.
As part of the new restructuring of the tribe’s retail outlets, at their meeting Monday, Oct. 7, the TGB approved posting four new jobs for immediate hire, which include managers for both C1 and C2 stores, a Retail Manager to oversee all the tribe’s retail outlets and an inventory manager who will oversee inventory for all tribal outlets.
Here is an article from July 12 regarding Blue Stones recommendations.