Seán Heaphy, managing director for H2 Group tells Ireland’s Forecourt & Convenience Retailer why he made the switch to the Texaco brand.
2017 was a standout year for H2 Group who operate a network of convenience stores and forecourts across Ireland. After finding out that Esso Ireland was due to cease trading at the beginning of the year, the group underwent the search for a new fuel brand and associate for all of its sites. After careful research, H2 Group found that Valero was the perfect partner for them.
Speaking to IFCR, H2 Group managing director, Seán Heaphy outlined his reasons for choosing Valero: “The combination of Valero’s partnership approach, the expertise of their sales management team, and the overall strength of the Texaco brand were key differentiators for us, as well as the fuel price of course!”
The transformation to the Texaco brand took just two weeks, and Seán remarked the process was easier than he had anticipated. “The changeover was handled very professionally and the card acceptance network transition was seamless with an overnight transfer.”
In fact, Seán believes that since the switch the fuel business has performed above expectations exceeding projected increases in both volume and margin. He attributes a considerable amount of this spike in business to Texaco’s fuel card.
“Texaco is a trusted brand in the Irish fuel market,” said Seán. “And, their fuel card is more widely used than our previous partner’s bringing new customers into our stores.
“We had some concerns about changing from a brand that we had operated for the previous 12 years but I must honestly say that customer reaction has been excellent since the changeover and our sales are testament to that.”
Customer feedback has been especially complimentary on the overall sleek look of the forecourts and it is this attention to detail which Seán believes makes H2 Group and Valero/Texaco such a strong team. He said: “We both share a passion for achieving the highest operational standards in the industry and it is one of our key strengths and differentiating factors that sets us apart from our competitors.”
One of the main pieces of advice Seán would give to any forecourt operators considering a switch to the Texaco brand would be to not only speak with the sales team, but to talk and meet with a number of dealers who have gone through the process. This proved to be a very beneficial exercise for him and for his team.
Moving into 2018, H2 Group are looking forward to building on their successes and are focused on continually improving their shop and forecourt offering. Currently planning refurbishment projects in two of their existing sites, the group also has a new site development project in planning for Kenmare, Co. Kerry, as well as two other sites in the pipeline. Seán is also looking forward to continuing work with Valero over the next twelve months stating that the quality and consistency of Texaco’s ordering and delivery process has been top class.
“A strong working relationship with our main trading partner is absolutely vital to ongoing business and continued strength within the group,” said Seán “As a growing and progressive business, we not only need a trading partner but also a strategic partner that fully understands our business and can add real value which Valero has delivered for us in all the key areas.”