Sheetz 2017-06-28T22:17:03+00:00

Project Description


For decades Sheetz ran a business selling food as people filled up at gas stations. But in the mid-90s, CEO Stan Sheetz and his executive team looked across the landscape of gas station businesses, and saw nothing but commoditization. To grow the business, they knew they needed to address their biggest challenge: In the consumer’s eyes, there was nothing unique or differentiating about Sheetz locations º gas was the draw, food was an afterthought. Something had to change.

Sheetz set out to flip the values customers saw in their locations – they set out to become a friendly, inviting restaurant, offering nutritious home-cooked options for customers, so that people would come for the food – and also fill up their tanks.

But this change wasn’t just about overhauling the look and feel of gas stations. This meant a radical change at the employee level.


The Sheetz team partnered with Oxygen to take a wide perspective of the problem, and apply design-thinking to solve it.

We started by involving a broad team of leaders from HR, learning, and operations, including the company’s head of retail stores, regional managers, and the store strategy team. The collective team came to realize that before anything could really change, they had to do a better job of laying the foundation of future-state thinking, and aligning people to their corporate strategy. And this meant defining the most critical front-line roles in their business. Given their hard-wired mindset to the transactional gas station model, this would mean up-front work and pushing the team out of their comfort zone – but there was clearly no alternative

Defining new customer-facing roles in a radically changing business environment is no small task. Sheetz had learned the hard way that glossing over such critical components would render their business strategy inert. It took a teaming approach, with allowances for debate, discussion, and input from a variety of different functions, to yield answers that simply can’t be dreamed up in a day. The team has already begun rolling out new content, tools, training, and incentives to help anchor the new way of working, especially in the salesperson and assistant manager roles.


Oxygen helped Sheetz redefine the most critical front-line roles needed to change the value of its business in the eyes of customers. Oxygen did this by taking a sound strategy and lack of execution, and driving the strategy into the front-lines by focusing on role definition and measures of performance.