Liberty Oil

Store Review: Take five at Liberty Ferntree Gully

Liberty Oil was established in 1995 by founding partners David Wieland and David Goldberger, whose names might be familiar as they were the founders of the giant that was Solo service stations in the 70s and 80s.

Wieland and Goldberger started Solo in 1974 and built it into the largest independent fuel retailer and distributor in Australia. The Solo chain was a part of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) project that aimed to sell petrol across Australia through independent operators at significantly lower prices.

The chain was later sold to Ampol, and Wieland and Goldberger took some time out of the industry due to a non-compete clause. But in 1995 they decided to start again with a renewed vigour and focus, founding Liberty. Now, almost 30 years on, Liberty has more than 85 convenience stores across Australia and is growing.

Liberty Ferntree Gully is one of the newest sites to open and has been trading for just under one year. The store has a truck canopy, barista and self-serve coffee, and an eatery area for customers to enjoy their coffee or a selection of hot food.

Leigh McCulloch, Retail Manager at Liberty Oil Convenience, tells C&I that the experience the store is looking to give its customers, comes down to high-quality products at great value, and a good variety of food for travellers on the move.

“Transparency and collaboration are key to ensuring that the store keeps up with the market and consumer needs,” he says.

According to Evan Badlee, Liberty’s National Food Manager, most stores are built with their own onsite kitchen. This enables the stores to create fresh cooked and prepared food every day.

“Our trained store operators can create their own special offers while their menu is based on a core range that you will find in most stores across the nation. This way our customers will be familiar with our offer from store to store, and they will be able to trust our brand and know what to expect,” he says.

“At Liberty, we are very passionate about delivering the best cup of coffee to our customers using the best German and Swiss Super Automatic Coffee Machines trusted by the world’s coffee roasters for their reliability and durability,” says Adriana Ivtingioski, National Coffee Manager.

“Barista-made coffee is also available at selected stores across Australia. Our staff are passionate and trained baristas who take pride in delivering that perfect cup of coffee to start your day or as an afternoon pick-me-up.”

Ivtingioski says that a key priority is that customers know they can come to Liberty Ferntree Gully, and in fact any Liberty Oil Convenience store, and know that they will receive a consistent, high quality cup of coffee.

“Our coffee is roasted in one of the largest and most advanced coffee roasters in Australia. Every bag of coffee has been crafted by a team of coffee experts with decades of experience. Our roaster sources the green beans ethically and roasts only the best.

“After months and months of taste testing, we at Liberty have chosen a blend that suits our customers, featuring Arabica, medium roast, earthy with spicy dark chocolate notes with a rich hazelnut crema.”

McCulloch has noticed there has been a change in consumer expectations of convenience retailers and a growing demand for stores to supply things like home delivery. Furthermore, there’s been an increase in the merging of e-commerce with in-store retailing to enhance customer journeys.

One way that Liberty Oil Convenience has been working to enhance its customer’s journey is through its loyalty program, which help its customers to save on fuel and in-store products.

“Our Liberty Loyalty programs allow our customers to save as they drive using our Mate Cards and Liberty Loyalty cards. We have three Mate cards that offer fuel and in-store credits,” says McCulloch.

Much like the philosophy of the old Solo service station chain, Liberty Oil strives to provide high quality of service and value for the customer through initiatives like the Liberty Loyalty program as well as its exceptional fresh food and barista made coffee.

This article originally appeared in the October / November issue of C&I Retailing magazine.

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