Who is Rhodes?
Rhodes isn’t a convenience store; we’re people. People that know a customers’ favorite drink before they reach the drive-thru window. People that notice if a daily customer misses a visit because they’re under the weather. People that make dinner for a family juggling so many activities they don’t have time to cook. Through our people and relationship-focused culture, we have completely raised our customers’ expectations of the typical convenience store experience. Let our employees tell you more.
Our mission is to be a superior convenience store business; committed to excellence by creating a valuable experience for every guest and team member.
R – Respect and trust our team and guests
H – Honesty to self and others
O – Outstanding experience for every guest
D – Do what we say we will do every time
E – Empower all well-trained team members
S – Service + Execution = 101 Success
Rhodes convenience stores started in 1963 when a young, hardworking oil jobber capitalized on a highway expansion project and later discovered an emerging retail gasoline market. A second generation of management then joined the company who established internal corporate functions and energized marketing efforts creating clear distinctions from other local convenience stores. Today, Rhodes operates 29 retail stores throughout Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois while enjoying consistent growth.
Many strategic decisions and critical turning points have also contributed to the company’s long-term success. With every critical turning point that Rhodes has encountered, the same recurring theme has existed; provide quality products in a convenient manner, and most of all, build customer relationships that will keep them returning. These are the foundations that have made Rhodes a consistent, and often daily, stop for the hardworking men and women of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.
F.E. “Gene” Rhodes, a stubborn, hardworking farm boy, accepts a delivery salesman position with Gulf Oil Corporation.
Gene hires his first employee for his Gulf Oil distributorship, Bob Amelunke, a delivery driver.
Gene officially establishes Rhodes Oil Company, which is known today as Rhodes.
Rhodes Oil Company takes a successful stride by becoming the exclusive fuel and motor oil provider for R.B. Potaschnick Construction Company, the contractor responsible for building Interstate 55. Rhodes Oil Company’s exceptional performance on this job launches its reputation for providing outstanding customer service, which remains an integral part of Rhodes today.
Gulf Oil Coporation pulls out of Southeast Missouri, and Gene Rhodes acquires several local Gulf stations. The self-service locations are renamed Rhodes Pump-Ur-Own, and its rapid growth in the retail fuel industry began.
Late 1970s – Early 1980s
The size and complexity of his Rhodes Oil Company grows, and Gene realizes the need to delegate daily operating responsibilities. As a proponent of promoting from within, Gene appoints two employees to key positions.
Jim Maurer, formerly a service technician with LP Gas, became Rhodes Oil Company’s Office Manager. Maurer formalized financing and accounting practices while developing the company’s corporate structure, which is still used today.
Paul Dirnberger, originally a part-time cashier at a Pump-Ur-Own station, introduced bold and innovative marketing ideas to grow the chain, which primarily provided gasoline, oil, beer, cigarettes, bait, and tackle.
The first computer is introduced at Rhodes Oil Company’s office improving the handling of its General Ledger and payroll.
Rhodes Oil Company studies market opportunities and defines corporate objectives to guide future business decisions.
1986 – 1994
In addition to operating a successful, growing company, Gene Rhodes serves as the mayor of Cape Girardeau, Mo., where Rhodes is headquartered.
Rhodes Oil Company acquiresits first convenience store providing a full inventory of deli items, snack foods and beverages. Its expanded inventory inspires Paul to rebrand the company with the theme “101 reasons to stop.” Paul develops the company’s new title of Rhodes 101 Stops Convenience Stores, and a new logo replaces one that previously mirrored Gulf Oil’s logo.
Five of the original Pump-Ur-Own stations are rebuilt to accommodate the Rhodes 101 Stops concept and the Rhodes Travel Center east of Interstate 55 in Scott City is rebuilt. After the upgrades, 14 convenience stores operate as Rhodes 101 Stops Convenience Stores.
1990s – 2000s
Rhodes 101 Stops introduces Orion Food Systems (Hot Stuff Pizza) and Chester Fried (Chester Fried Chicken) products to provide an attractive menu of hot foods. Rhodes 101 Stops Convenience Stores consistently ranks as Orion’s top chain among its five state mid-western region.
Rhodes 101 Stops Convenience Stores pioneers drive-up window service in its locations, which becomes an essential feature for providing quick, convenient service to customers.
Rhodes 101 Stops introduces a proprietary charge card for retail and business accounts.
Fountain soft drinks become a popular product at Rhodes 101 Stops, making it Coca-Cola USA’s number one chain for volume soft drink sales on an incident rate.
Gene Rhodes dies at the age of 88.
Rhodes unveils two big promotions that garner substantial excitement from customers and employees: a daily free fountain hour throughout May 2015, followed by a Jeep giveaway that customers entered to win June 2015 through August 2015.
Rhodes begins a long-term, multi-faceted rebranding process lasting throughout 2016 and beyond.
In April, a new logo is adopted, which triggers the rebranding process. The new design focuses solely on the Rhodes name and drops “101 Convenience Stores” from the design.
In the same month, a new store design is introduced in Farmington, Mo. using a larger footprint, warmer color palette, and local photography appealing to the community which supports the store’s operation as customers and employees.
Rhodes announces that military and veterans’ causes are its official corporate cause. The decision is inspired by Gene Rhodes’ service in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean conflict. To solidify the commitment, Rhodes makes a $10,000 donation to the USO.
August & September 2016
Two Rhodes locations are remodeled to include an Imo’s Pizza dine-in concept. The locations are in Perryville, Mo. and Scott City, Mo. The Scott City location introduces a Food Court layout, which includes Krispy Krunchy Chicken in addition to the pizza option.
Following a summer-long promotion, which allowed customers to enter to win free fuel, food and drinks for a year from Rhodes, a winner is announced. Gabe McClung of Sikeston, Mo. wins after his contest video receives more votes than nine other finalists. Gabe “pays it forward” by donating his $5,000 prize to a Sikeston family who has a seven-year-old son battling a brain tumor. To honor Gabe’s selfless act, Rhodes also “pays it forward” by awarding the same prize back to Gabe. Both parties receive free fuel, food and drinks for a year from Rhodes to enjoy over twelve months.
On Veterans’ Day, Rhodes makes another financial contribution to veterans’ causes. Five thousand dollars is donated among four Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois organizations that serve veterans’ needs and foster patriotism among younger generations.
Gabe McClung continues to share his Grand Prize of Free Fuel, Food and Drinks for a year by paying it forward to other people. On Christmas Eve, he visited the Sikeston Rhodes location. Anyone that donated $5 to a local food pantry, received $20 in fuel from Gabe’s remaining $1000+ fuel allotment that he could have spent through August 2017 on himself. A large number of customers visited, more than $300 was raised for the food pantry, and Rhodes’ team members gladly spend their Christmas Eve serving a worthy cause.
Rhodes announces it will rebrand its Jackson Mercato Di Rodi to a Rhodes location, which will also feature a full menu of Imo’s Pizza items.