Family Express Receives the 2015 Chain of the Year Award

Company News  •   October 15, 2015

VALPARAISO, INDIANA – The convenience store and petroleum industry came together this week to honor Family Express, which accepted the 2015 Convenience Store Decisions’ Chain of the Year award at a ceremony in Las Vegas.

The Chain of the Year Award is the oldest and most prestigious award for convenience retailing in the industry.

In keeping with Chain of the Year tradition, Allison Moran, Chief Executive Officer of Atlanta-based RaceTrac Petroleum, presented this year’s award to Gus Olympidis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Family Express.

“Innovation, outstanding operations, superior leadership and the ongoing commitment to convenience retail are the common characteristics of the best convenience store chains in our industry. Family Express embodies all these qualities and more,” Moran said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to recognize our people for a job well done,” Gus Olympidis said. “I’ve been around a long time. Forty years is a long journey. I can’t really think of many things in the space of convenience that we do today as we did some 40 years ago, perhaps with the exception of one thing. Relationships make a big difference in bringing about different outcomes. I’m here before you totally grateful for this recognition” he said, “but I’m here before you celebrating relationships, one by one. Relationships matter! They matter with employees, they matter with customers, they matter with communities, and they matter within the trade.”

Anonymous Hijacks Video
In a stunning fashion, the traditional video highlighting the award-winning chain appeared to have been hijacked by, “Anonymous.” As it becomes apparent that the hijacking is not real, Anonymous closes their digital intervention by seeking to apply for a job with Family Express.


Excellence in Retailing
Over the years, family-owned Family Express has not been afraid to take risks in its pursuit of retail excellence. In 2010, the chain opened its own 150,000 square foot distribution center. Just three years later, it added a central bakery, where today it produces thousands of doughnuts, muffins, cookies and other pastries that are delivered to its convenience stores daily.

Still, the chain embodies so much more. It is committed to the living brand concept. The living brand encompasses all that Family Express has become, and all it hopes to be. It is the company’s connection with building relationships with every customer intercepts. The living brand is a palpable entity that connotes trust, commands respect and guarantees a standard of excellence that employees carry with pride and customers have come to expect during each visit to Family Express. It literally permeates all aspects of the chain and lives on in perpetuity through each employee.

To foster the living brand, the company built a $4 million, 30,000-square-foot headquarters/learning center in Valparaiso that features a full-scale, functioning Family Express store just to train employees and test new products. Adjacent to the training store is a state-of-the art learning center where an employee in training is subjected to some 50 modules of custom computer-based curriculum. The headquarters also includes a state-of-the art fitness center that is available for all company employees and their families to use.

Just 80% of those invited to training achieve graduation and gain permanent employment with Family Express.

Close to a year ago Family Express announced the “YOU MATTER!” initiative. The announcement articulated the Family Express starting an hourly wage of $10 per hour months before Walmart had announced their intention of moving their starting wage to $9 per hour sometime in the future.

While most companies hire with the intention of teaching new employees retail skills, Family Express focuses on a person’s natural inclination to “relationship,” and simply allows and encourages them to connect at the human level. Family Express refers to its unique workforce as the, “Living Brand.”