Why Are Shell Gas Stations Changing To Speedway? [Updated!]

At first glance, the two gas stations across from each other on the interstate might not seem that different. One is located in Shreveport, Louisiana and the other is in Hot Springs, Arkansas. But it’s the little things that set these stations apart. For example, the ArkLaTex gas station offers free breakfast all day and a courtesy bus ride to and from the airport.

It’s also worth noting that the ArkLaTex gas station was built in 1914 and is the last remaining gas station from that era. On the other hand, the Shreveport gas station was built in 1960 and offers a traditional coffee and soda station, as well as a small food menu.

These Are The Main Reasons For The Change

The main reason for the change at the ArkLaTex gas station is quite simple. As in most places, the economy in Shreveport, Louisiana has taken a hit as people and businesses are trying to stay afloat during the pandemic. In a recent interview with Shreveport Mayor Will Satterfield, he stated that even before the pandemic, the economy in Shreveport was in a bit of a slump.

The combination of the pandemic and the stay at home orders have made matters worse as people have fewer places to go and fewer reasons to go there. Because of this, traffic at the local level has dropped off and the gas station’s owners, the Hirschmann family, decided to cash in on the demand.

When customers come in for gas, they now have a choice of whether they want to fill up at the nearby traditional gas station or the “green” gas station with all the perks attached.

The Pandemic

The pandemic was certainly the main reason behind the change at the ArkLaTex gas station. The Hirschmann family noted that even before the pandemic, customers were slowly starting to opt for alternative fuels and vehicles. Additionally, as the oil prices increased, it made more financial sense for them to switch to alternative fuels.

Gas stations throughout Louisiana have been suffering as customers have decreased due to concerns about COVID-19. According to data from Gasbuddy, gas prices in Louisiana increased by 18% from February to March and 45% from April to May.

However, as the pandemic has started to subside, people are beginning to go back to work and travel more. This, in turn, has helped the state’s gas stations to regain a bit of their previous profits.

The Environment

The ArkLaTex gas station has always been committed to sustainable energy use and has invested in more eco-friendly alternatives such as solar power. As a result, they have almost entirely eliminated their carbon footprint.

The station also recycles and diverts more than 90% of their waste from a landfill. Not only is landfill waste bad for the environment, but it also takes hundreds of years to decompose.

Another reason why the Hirschmann’s decided to make the switch to sustainable energy sources is because they believe it’s the “golden way” to provide for their customers’ well-being. By raising their prices and, in some cases, decreasing the amounts of gas they provide, the family members hope this will discourage people from coming in and causing damage to the environment.

Technology

It’s also worth noting that the Hirschmann’s have updated their technology throughout the gas station, from the tanks and pumps to the bathrooms and coffee machines. As a result, they’ve made the station more appealing and accessible to a wider audience.

The Hirschmann’s have also increased the efficiency of their operations and have been able to decrease their energy consumption by 25%. They also switched from real live monkeys to machine-printed menus as part of an effort to be more eco-friendly.

A Place To Stay

The Hirschmann’s also built the ArkLaTex gas station with this in mind. They wanted to create a place to stay for travelers who are passing through or those who want to stop and get a bite to eat. The small food stations in the gas station offer everything from pizza to fish and chips. In addition, the Hirschmann’s built the coffee station so that travelers wanting a quick caffeine fix can do so while they’re out.

A bus stop is also located outside the station so that those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle can take a ride to the airport. The airport is only about four miles away and offers direct access to the city’s two biggest attractions, the Shreveport Convention Center and the University of Louisiana at Shreveport. It’s a great option for those who want to get away for the weekend and can’t afford a hotel room.

However, even with all these perks, the Hirschmann family still makes a healthy profit at the ArkLaTex gas station. Based on their financials, they report an income of roughly $60,000 a month, which, not including their income from other gas stations, brings their total earnings to over $120,000 a month.

Considering that most gas stations only see about $40,000 a month, the Hirschmann’s have created quite the lucrative business. But it’s not all good news as they’ve had to make some tough decisions, such as cutting back hours and decreasing the number of employees.

The Employees

One of the main reasons why the Hirschmann’s chose to make the switch to alternative fuels and sustainable energy sources was to reduce their carbon footprint and lessen their impact on the environment. In some cases, this has meant reducing employee hours and benefits. This has been hard for the family to swallow as they see their employees as part of their extended family.

According to the Hirschmann, their employees are “like sons and daughters” and they’ve tried to be as fair as possible by cutting back on hiring and benefits to keep costs down.

With less employees, the Hirschmann’s can focus on growing their business instead of taking care of “mangy” customers. This allows them to squeeze more cars per hour through the station and drive more profit. But it’s also made it easier for them to track their impact and be more mindful of their impact on the environment. To date, the Hirschmann’s have invested over $1.3 million in energy-saving measures and have reduced their carbon footprint by 80%.

Raising Prices

Of course, one of the main ways the Hirschmann’s are able to increase their revenue is by raising their prices. Just across the street, the Shreveport gas station continues to charge the same prices as it did before the pandemic as customers have not lost their appetite for high-priced gas.

But the Hirschmann’s have also implemented a number of other strategies to increase their revenue, including the use of “ghost employees” to make it seem like there are more people working than there actually are. They’ve also increased the price of their gas by 15% and their soda by 20%.

Sustainability

One of the best things about the ArkLaTex gas station is that it is more environmentally conscious than most other gas stations. The Hirschmann’s have invested heavily not only in sustainable energy sources, but in more eco-friendly products and options for their customers. For example, they offer bio-diesel fuel and electric vehicles for those who want to reduce their environmental impact.

In addition, the coffee machine in the station is made with fair-trade coffee beans and the paper used to print the menu is recycled. They’ve also converted to composting and vermiculture, so that all the food waste is reused instead of going to a landfill. Even the carpet has been converted to rugs made from recycled plastic bottles.

The Result

As a result of all their hard work, the Hirschmann’s have seen significant growth at their gas stations. While most gas stations around them have closed down due to the pandemic, the Hirschmann’s have experienced something completely different. Not only has their revenue increased, but so has their bottom line. By charging more and investing in sustainable energy, the Hirschmann’s have saved more than 700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and prevented the emission of 1,600 pounds of CO2.

According to the Hirschmann’s, the main reason why their gas station is successful is because they have provided a better experience for their customers. While most gas stations offer the same basics as most other gas stations, the Hirschmann’s provide additional perks for their customers. Those who live and work in the area know what this means- they get what they want and need without having to spend too much money.

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