Picture yourself on a road trip in Middle America. You’re driving a plug-in hybrid car but don’t necessarily need gas. Maybe you want to add some range to the battery; you are looking for an electric vehicle (EV) charger. It’s not the best place to stop, far away from urban sprawl and lacking a sufficient mini-mart.
As road travel has changed, why hasn’t the gas station experience? SQRL, an up-and-coming convenience stop chain, wants to change that notion.
SQRL was founded by Blake Smith, a businessman with more than a quarter-century of real estate experience. Rather than building new stations, SQRL takes run-down or abandoned gas stops and flips them into the company’s ultra-modern design.
The stations incorporate sustainability where they can. All SQRL structures are built with sustainable construction materials and are laser-measured to provide the precise amount of work and supplies.
Solar panels provide renewable energy, which the company hopes to add to each station by 2025. Excess energy is sent back to power the community. Unlike other gas stations, SQRL offers security onsite to give customers ease of mind.
“At SQRL, we are reinventing something as basic as the gas station and convenience store industry, taking old run-down gas stations and turning them into thriving businesses that care about their employees, guests, and the environment,” Smith said in a press release shared with The Business Download.
SQRL’s reach is getting off to a good start for a growing company. There are already 160 locations across 10 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Missouri, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee — and an expansion to another two, which has yet to be announced, according to company representatives. Each station has a “Chik-Fil-A-like service,” where helpful and kind staff assist drivers when needed.
Local products are sold at SQRL’s mini-marts, ensuring more connection with the towns the stations are in.
Not only do they offer gas and quality snacks, but electric vehicle chargers are also available, showing that SQRL understands where the future of automotive travel is going.
“Chick-fil-A is renowned for its customer service, cleanliness, and efficiency. We aim to bring a similar ethos to our gas stations,” Chris Lehnoff, SQRL COO, told The Business Download via email. “This includes friendly staff trained in customer service, pristine and well-maintained facilities, and streamlined services that minimize waiting times. It’s all about enhancing the overall customer experience.”
Photo Courtesy SQRL
This venture is just one of a few Smith is undertaking. It’s part of a greater scheme known as Project SQRL. It aims to tackle the issues of modern energy sourcing, evolving tech-based finance, and creating better media investments.
That includes expanding SQRL Holdings, the holding company for Smith’s business ventures. SQRL Holdings is involved in domestic oil and gas sourcing. According to the company website, Standard Energy Co. has already raised more than $1 billion in oil and gas transactions. Drilling leases for land in Oklahoma and Texas are currently being reviewed.
Even with electric cars becoming more prevalent, Lehnoff explained the gas station business is still a successful venture, as charging stations are not at a scale to support fully electric transportation.
“Even as electric vehicles are becoming more mainstream, the vast majority of vehicles on the road are still powered by gasoline or diesel. Transitioning to a fully electric fleet will take decades, and during this period, there will be demand for both gas and EV charging alike,” Lehnoff said.
“Entering the gas station business now allows us to cater to this diverse demand and also to position ourselves as a forward-thinking service provider, ready for the EV future.”
SQRL Holdings also has investment opportunities for advertisers with new billboards. Standard Media’s website says a company can generate up to $8,000 a month by advertising with Standard Media. Additionally, Standard Processing offers new ways to pay seamlessly with credit and debit cards. There is also talk of SQRL Holdings launching a cryptocurrency, though details on that are scarce at the moment.
When asked about expansion plans, Lehnoff added, “Without revealing too much, the company is incredibly excited about the expansion. We see it as an opportunity to bring our unique blend of traditional and future-focused services to a broader audience. We’re confident in our ability to redefine the gas station experience and expand our footprint — one SQRL paw at a time.” “Entering the gas station business now allows us to cater to this diverse demand and also to position ourselves as a forward-thinking service provider, ready for the EV future.