Rebranding Success on HAT SIX ROAD

Hat Six Travel Center, based in Evansville, Wyoming, has embraced the local flair, capitalized on convenience and identified three distinct customer bases, which is boosting sales and driving loyalty.

The location, which was previously known as Eastgate Travel Plaza, underwent a 21-month rebuild and rebranding. Tiffany Gamble, advisor for the location, said the name change resonated with customers because they already identified the travel plaza with its location on Hat Six Road. Gamble said, “When you would mention Eastgate Travel Plaza to people, they would say, ‘Oh, out there on Hat Six?”

The location sits on just over 17 acres and features 150 truck parking spaces, 90 car parking spaces, a playground, two dog parks, two picnic areas, fast food, a c-store, a bar and a drive-thru alcohol lane.

Hat Six has identified three primary customer groups, and the customer base has shifted since the rebuild. “We’re about one-third truck drivers, one-third locals and one-third travelers. We didn’t have that many travelers before, but with our new store we’ve become a destination,” Gamble said, adding that the traffic on the car side has increased “tremendously.”

Gamble said the number of travelers with campers and four wheelers have increased as well, and many of those travelers use the dog park. “We started out with one dog park, then we decided to add a second. One is on the trucker side and the other is more on the car side,” she said. “I think there is a big increase in the truck driver population having animals with them.”

Hat Six also sells dog treats, dog food and toys inside the store. “We put in good signage all around the location to direct customers to the dog park, which keeps the dogs off of our landscaping,” Gamble said.

For customers traveling with children, the location features a playground with a teeter totter and the Sinclair dinosaurs, which Gamble said are popular.

The location had a number of commuters who would park there each day to carpool. “We blocked off an area in our back trucking area just for commuters and we have 20-30 commuters who park with us every day,” Gamble said. The location doesn’t charge commuters to park, but has implemented paid parking for commercial drivers spending more than 24 hours at the location. “You pre-pay for how many days and there is a permit to place with in truck.”

Hat Six began to charge because some customers would drop trailers at the location for weeks at a time. “This was our solution,” Gamble said.

As part of the re-build, Hat Six opted to eliminate its sit-down restaurant and opened branded franchises, including Schlotzky’s, Cinnabon and Moe’s Southwest Grill. “Our sales in the food court compared to our sit down restaurant two years ago are more than double,” Gamble said, adding that the location ramped up the menu in its bar. “We have ribs, chicken strips and burgers. They can sit down and order and have the meal delivered.”

Hat Six also has open grab-andgo coolers with homemade sandwiches and salads that are all done in house. The location features a mini-grocery store, which appeals to locals and travelers alike. “We have lettuce, tomato, avocados, rotisserie chickens—things for your dinner,” Gamble said. “In our freezer section we have Wyoming beef, packaged chicken breasts, steaks and hamburger so you can grab that.”

In Wyoming, drive-thru alcohol lanes are legal, and Hat Six has had success selling liquor and beer and has added three alcoholic slushie machines. “We also sell salty snacks to go with the beer,” Gamble said.

Gamble said one of her favorite things has been all of the additional merchandise the location carries. “We’ve increased our inventory. We have gifts, home décor, more jewelry,” Gamble said. “We have a couple that drives an hour and a half to shop in our store. We’re realizing people want things that they don’t see anywhere else. The more we do that, the more we can sell.”

Hat Six also expanded its Wyoming section, which features local honey, lotions and soaps, and it has added more boots. “We’ll change out our merchandise with the season,” Gamble said.

To help attract customers, Gamble invested in nine billboards. “I had zero before. I have them coming from every which way and that has increased our traffic,” she said.

via Business Feeds

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