Bolla Management is taking the gas station and convenience store industry by storm with its upscale and customer service-focused locations. The company’s mission is to become the most successful, recognizable and respected C-store chain on the East Coast.
The Garden City, N.Y.–based company was founded in 1989 by President and CEO Harry Singh, who was committed to providing high-quality products at competitive prices and convenient locations. Bolla Management is comprised of five divisions: Bolla Retail, Bolla Wholesale, Bolla Transport, Bolla Construction and Bolla Real Estate.
The company acts as a wholesale fuel distributor and operator of gas stations, convenience stores, auto repair shops and car washes. “We continue to put our stakes in the ground all over Long Island, New York City and New Jersey,” Singh says. “As we secure properties and get the projects into the pipeline, we secure our position as a market leader.”
Bolla Management’s convenience stores, known as Bolla Market, strive to wow customers with marble bathrooms, wood gondolas, granite tile floors and employees dressed in ties. And if that isn’t enough of a differentiator from a typical convenience store, the company also offers organic coffee, healthy snack alternatives and high-end food options from its Bolla Gourmet deli. “We provide our customers an experience that they just don’t find in the gas and convenience store industry,” Singh says. “Our stores are free from clutter and the path around the store is easy for our customers to navigate.”
Bolla Management always strives to provide exceptional customer service. “We always are looking to be innovative, offer something unique and always provide the best customer experience,” Singh says. “In discussions, we always talk with the mindset of being an owner, asking ‘What would you do if this was your business?’ It always leads us down a path of unique solutions and very satisfied customers.”
To provide outstanding service and keep its customers coming back, the company is constantly questioning the status quo. Bolla Management strives to be ahead of its competition, see trends coming before they happen and drive innovation. Bolla Management can remain ahead of competitors in part because its management team is nimble and able to make decisions immediately.
“We are able to make decisions in one discussion and have found this strategy has allowed us to remain ahead in all facets of our business,” Director of Marketing Brett Atherton explains. “Our entire management team is very transparent and decisions are made in a format of open discussion and practical application.”
Bolla Management excels in the market because of its dedicated sales associates, managers and field and office staff, Atherton attests. The company has built a positive reputation in the New York metro area, and people approach Bolla Management daily looking for employment. “Employee retention is very important and we have almost 100 employees out of our current 400 that have been with Bolla for more than 10 years,” he says. “This is unheard of in this industry.”
To keep its retention high, Bolla Management offers a robust, in-house training program that focuses on customer service, retail excellence, restricted product selling, suggestive selling and environmental compliance. Each employee takes the course annually and monthly meetings are also held to review company objectives and training issues, and to hold open discussions with managers.
“We provide them a career path, not just a job, and communicate these opportunities to them,” Singh says. “We energize our people by challenging them, keeping them thinking, and by giving them projects to help them grow individually and drive the company’s goals collectively. This training keeps our employees excited to make a difference.”
Bolla Management is growing quickly, but it is not exempt from the demands of healthcare reform, the minimum wage and restrictions on the selling of products like tobacco and beer. Despite those challenges, the company believes that its unique customer experience and innovative offerings will continue to drive the business forward, Atherton says.
The company is preparing to franchise Bolla Market this year to help build brand recognition and its site count. Bolla Management plans to upgrade its existing sites and open an additional 25 to 30 sites within the next two years. Expansion of the fuel wholesale and distribution division is also a major focus for the company.
“We are in the people business and our customers are the reason why we are successful,” Singh says. “Our business model of being a fully integrated operation gives us a competitive advantage over anyone who tries to enter the Long Island, New York City and New Jersey markets.”