CSD: Family Express Builds Cyber Training Center
By Erin Rigik
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of an article from Convenience Store Decisions magazine.
Express’ new corporate headquarters in Valparaiso, IN not only features offices
and a fitness center, but combines two other training centers into one cyber
training center, including a fully-merchandised Family Express store, built
to scale with equipment and gas pumps.
The learning center’s mock Family
Express store will not be open to the public, but will be used by the human
resources department for training, and by the marketing department for strategic
The learning facility ties into the chain’s concept
as "the living
brand," where employees serve as live ambassadors for the Family Express
"Training and cultural engagement are an integral part of how we go
to market," said Gus Olympidis, president and CEO of Family Express,
which operates 52 upscale c-stores in northwest and north central Indiana. "Consequently,
distance becomes a hurdle to further development for the growth of Family Express
unless we find ways to circumvent its adverse effects, and this new facility
has given us a way to substantially neutralize the effects of distance."
new learning center is intended to serve both new and existing staff. By virtually
connecting with individual stores, it eliminates distance from the learning
equation — allowing employees to develop the skills they need
without having to travel for training, Mr. Olympidis said. "We are visually
connected now with all of our stores and can combine as many as 16 stores into
a single teleconference, and we can overlay spread sheets and video onto the
screen, so we’re able to connect without moving people," he added.
Discussion question: What do you think of Family Express’ cyber training
center? What are the advantages as well as any shortcomings of mock learning
stores in general? Should other stores be exploring setting up cyber training