FUELING IN KAMLOOPS
A home-grown petroleum brand.
When Vikram Singh Bhown moved to Kamloops to take over the Esso gas station on Tranquille road two years ago, it wasn’t just an investment opportunity for him, it was the next step in a career that already heavily involved the gas trade.
“I was a gas jockey before,” Bhown explains. “I’ve only worked in the petroleum sector, it’s the only thing I know.” And he kept at it while pursuing a higher education.
“I graduated from Kelowna Okanagan College and I started my first gas station job in Kelowna as well, so this is the perfect opportunity for me.”
While Bhown brought his education and experience with him to Kamloops, he brought something else as well: the Canco brand, and it’s a brand with a local connection.
“Canco’s head office is in Kelowna, they started in BC, so this was their first location when they opened.
“They gave me really good pricing on fuel and merchandise which other companies could not offer me. Right now we have nine Canco locations that opened in the last two years, so we are growing really fast. Next year Canco is hoping to have more than 20 sites in Canada and is looking at going national.”
Brenda Brookbank, who has worked at the location for 22 years, says that the new brand has brought exciting opportunities to the store. “Even though we were independent before, we’re more independent now, where we can create more of our own pricing, which is better for the customer because we’re trying to be the lowest.”
“Instead of being in the same slump we were always in, we get to try different things that we weren’t trying with Esso,” she says.
One of those different things is the Canco loyalty program.
DID YOU KNOW?
Canco currently has locations in Kamloops, Oliver, Grand Forks, Interlakes, Greenwood, and Penticton, with plans to move into Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Vikram Bhown is originally from India. He came to Canada in 2010 and graduated from Kelowna Okanagan College.
Bhown showed off an example of the loyalty card and explained, “If you have this card it’s like cash in your pocket. You swipe the card, you will get 2 cents off per liter of fuel, 2% cash back on in store merchandise and 1% back on all lottery purchases.”
For Bhown its all about customer service.
“If someone needs help filling their tires, definitely we’re going help and fill their tires, especially the older people, they would like to come here and fill their gas in the same way it was in the 80s or 90s. We still have free air and water. At full serve we will check your oil, washer fluid and clean windows, all for the same price as the self serve side.”
“We also have the only propane filling station on the North Shore for auto and cylinders,” he continues. “We try to be very competitive with our propane pricing in offering the lowest price we can.
“And we are proud to offer a variety of carwash options from our Udo bays and automatic wash to our Robo wash where we wash for you.
“For any business the first thing is customer service, if they are happy, everyone is happy. So our focus is customer service.”