THEY'LL LISTEN IF THEY LOSE CUSTOMERS
Editor, Daily News
Having been involved with the selling of gasoline for about 25 years I understand the basic premise of pricing the product on the “street.” The basic cost to the retailer including taxes and freight are comparable. Some of the bigger chains own their refineries and are distributors. This can put money in both of their pockets.
What regulates the price on the “street “(as it is called in the industry) is the local market. Facts like is the site located near a highway exit/entrance, how well are their stations positioned, how many stations do they have in an area and finally who are they competing with for gallons. Once established in a community, the stronger company becomes the “price setter” and everyone else follows accordingly. In our area many smaller independent dealers have fallen by the wayside over the years. In Athol we have only one independent dealer who consistently offers gas at a competitive price, often 20 cents cheaper per gallon than the chain branded locations.
So why aren’t the big guys concerned with this competitor located uptown? Well, maybe because they are not giving up a lot of gallons to this station to offset the reduction in lowering their price. After all, if they dropped their price by even 10 cents a gallon and they are pumping 300,000 gallons a week that would convert to $3,000 a week in lost profit.
Earlier this week I pulled up to the pump at a downtown Athol branded station, who only has one site in the area. I said, “I just want to tell you that I won’t be buying gas from you today or in the future if your pricing remains high. I can go uptown to the Food Mart, east to Gardner or west to Greenfield and save 20 to 30 cents a gallon.” I headed uptown, bought my gas and said, “THANKS!”
The big guys will listen if they think they are going to lose customers and gallons. That is what they understand! This has been going on for years. I know it may not be convenient, but if we are not going to accept this, we need to let them know!