truenorth

The team at Truenorth is aggressively investing in facilities, technology and partnerships to ensure its c-store and fuel operations remain strong.

By Eric Slack

Founded in 1999, Truenorth is the legacy of a number of successful companies owned and operated by The Lyden Company, which is now known as True North Holdings. The Lyden family has been guiding the business for 96 years, with the third and fourth generations of the family now leading the organization’s growth and development. 

“The Lyden Company dates back to 1919, and Truenorth came about when we entered into a joint venture with Shell in 1999,” President Mark Lyden says. “We now have a presence in most of Ohio as well as in parts of Michigan and the Chicagoland area.”

The Source has been in business for more than 40 years under several names – including the Radio Shack Canada and Circuit City banners – but found new life in 2009, when it was purchased by telecommunications giant Bell Canada. The retailer operates 550 stores across the country in a “small-box” format with roughly 2,000 square feet per location. More than 70 percent of the nation’s population lives within about three miles of a Source store, the company says.

Since the acquisition by Bell, the retailer has opened new locations, renovated existing stores and revamped the brands it carries. However, it continues to face challenges when it comes to consumer perception combined with an increasingly soft retail marketplace. 

Footwear giant Shoe Carnival is finding success by increasing its rate of growth through new types of retail locations and store concepts. The company has long favored storefronts in strip malls, but it realized it needed to gain a foothold in interior shopping malls to reach its expansion targets. “In order to grow successfully, we need to take advantage of the best retail space available regardless of whether it is in an enclosed mall or a traditional power center,” Vice President of Store Planning and Development Brad Gubser says.

Shoe Carnival has cultivated a loyal customer base over the past 35 years, Gubser notes. Shoe Carnival is a destination shop and as such it prefers to have easy access into its stores. With customer convenience in mind, the company began considering mall locations with an exterior entrance so customers could go straight from the parking lot into the store.

When Noah Glanville returned in 2003 from a tour of duty in Iraq, he recalls the greeting he and his unit received from a group of veterans who were hosting a barbecue to welcome the returning troops home. He specifically remembers the smell of charcoal briquets wafting in the breeze as the food was prepared.

“Older veterans greeted us with a barbecue, and I remember the smell of Kingsford, hot dogs and hamburgers,” Glanville says. “It’s a good, familiar smell, and I knew that I was finally home.”

Glanville was a Navy corpsman attached to a Marine Corp unit. He later spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of an American security services company. Time spent overseas took its toll. Upon returning, Glanville suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

When a parent tells a child they’re not allowed to have a dog or cat, most just grumble and accept the goldfish alternative. But Michael Levy, president and founder of Pet Food Express, couldn’t accept a life without furry friends. Growing up in New York City, he began bringing home stray cats when he was nine years old to foster them until they could find a forever home, and then he started a dog walking business at age 11. 

Years later in 1976, while attending college in San Francisco, he started a dog training business to supplement his student loans. And in 1980, he opened a second location that included a storefront. “It was a retail location, but I thought of it as a dog training location,” Levy says. “I just expanded my dog training and didn’t initially think of myself as a retailer.”

In the earliest days of the NBA, a fan looking to bring a piece of the action home would have been content with a program from a game or maybe a pennant from their favorite team to hang at home. Today, however, an NBA fan has more choices than ever.

If a Lakers fan wants to buy a jersey just like the one worn by Kobe Bryant, he or she can choose from home, road and alternate versions. If a Knicks fan wants to create the perfect room for watching a game in his or her own home, there is no shortage of home décor options and memorabilia available. And if a fan wants to bring a little of Lebron James’ or Kevin Durant’s mojo to their next pickup game, there are thousands of different sneakers to select among. 

Prospective Monkee’s franchise owners need to have more than just the ability to pay a franchise fee or monthly building rent. When seeking new franchisees, the Winston- Salem, N.C.-based boutique franchisor looks for franchisees who possess a sense of fashion, a love of shopping and the kind of personality that will attract loyal customers to their shop.

“There are a lot of people who come to us who say they want to open a store and have the ability to do it financially, but that’s not the only thing we look for,” says co-CEO Dee Dee Shaw. “You can teach someone the business side of an organization or a store but you can’t teach personality or style.” 

Even with 43 convenience stores throughout East Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Southwest Virginia, plus 25 years of business, Lee’s Food Mart is still growing. Owned and operated by brothers Terry and Gary Lee, the company takes great pride in its services and offerings. Whether a neighborhood customer filling up on gas and grabbing a snack, a trucker needing diesel on a long journey or someone passing through on a road trip, Lee’s Food Mart has something for everyone.

The business markets gasoline, diesel, kerosene and racing fuel under well-known brands such as BP, Marathon, Exxon and Phillips 66. Inside the store, customers can purchase coffee products, fast foods and deli products made fresh daily, along with all the usual snacks, candy and beverages one would find in any convenience store. Lee’s Food Mart also offers a self-service car wash, Autec Evolution Touchless car wash and Friction combination car wash systems at many of its locations. 

Latest issue

Latest issue cover2

Check Out Our Latest Edition!

New & Notable

Latest New & Notable Products

Contact Us

Retail Merchandiser Magazine
79 West Monroe St., Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60603

  312.676.1100
  312.676.1101

Click here for a full list of contacts.

Latest Edition

Spread The Love

Back To Top