Meet Your Merchant: Incline to get another 24/7 option
August 7, 2013
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Whether it's on your way in to Incline, on your way out, or a pit stop to fill up the tank, it's likely you've passed Incline's 76 Station.
But have you stopped inside the Circle K convenience store?
"If you want a bag of chips and hot dog you can go anywhere, so we have to stand out," said Annie Marzel.
Annie is co-owner of California Retail Management, the company that bought the Incline, Truckee and Donner 76 Station locations in December 2011.
“People make the station part of their day-to-day routine. You hope to brighten their day with good customer service.”
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Although Marzel said "gas is king," people stop by Circle K for coffee, newspapers, snacks and more.
"People make the station part of their day-to-day routine," Marzel said. "You hope to brighten their day with good customer service."
California Retail Management aims to stand out with friendly staff — a philosophy started 32 years ago when Annie's father, Ed Marzel, opened his first convenience store in Carmichael, Calif.
"Our philosophy is two rules," Annie said. "No. 1 is 'the customer is always right,' and No. 2 is 'if the customer is wrong, refer back to rule No. 1.'"
California Retail Management has stores throughout California and recently opened its 30th location in Hawaii. Incline Village is its only Nevada location.
"We credit our success over the years to our trying to be the best at what we do," Annie Marzel said.
Marzel explained she had to work her way up in the family business, just like any other employee.
"My dad has made it clear that he has three children," she said. "First the business, then me, then my brother. It wasn't a right. I wanted to earn the respect of everyone I worked with; I wasn't handed anything."
Ed's daughter started as a cashier in Sacramento before working in management positions.
"I wouldn't trade those days for anything," she said. "The hardest part of the business is being in the store and managing the store — I appreciated that time learning the ropes."
Trenton Pearson recently moved to the Truckee Tahoe area from Sacramento to accept a promotion as store manager of the Incline, Truckee, and Donner Lake locations.
When finding employees, Marzel said her company doesn't "hire to fill" and that "you can train friendly people to do this job but you can't train people to be friendly."
Annie said she hired Pearson because of his "superstar" qualities. The young man is excited to be in Tahoe and says he is committed to the community.
"We want to show the locals that we appreciate them because they support us," he said. "It's the locals who keep us alive."
Pearson hopes to bring in more retail products from local business such as baked goods and lip balms. He also pays attention to what his customers would like sold in the convenient store.
"I leave a list and if customer wants a product I'll get it for the store," he said.
Apart from gas, the 76 Station provides air for tires and the Circle K sells all the pit stop essentials.
"We're never going to be Starbucks but we are continually brewing coffee," Annie said.
And new this year: This month, Circle K will be open 24 hours, giving Incline residents another late-night option aside from 7-Eleven.
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Circle K Convenience Store
Location: 790 Tahoe Blvd.
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