Right around the same time the COVID-19 pandemic was causing upheaval and uncertainty, Dan Pamperin had a lot to celebrate. In April, he celebrated his 60th birthday — on the same day he tore down his first convenience store, making way
for a new one.
Pamperin, owner of Titletown Oil, demolished the Stadium Shell at 1221 Lombardi Access Road in Green Bay to build a new 6,780-square-foot store that will include a Baskin-Robbins and car wash.
“That was where it all started,” Pamperin says of the original store’s demolition. “I was pretty emotional when it came down.”
Pamperin purchased the original 1969 building in 1985. He then launched Titletown Oil, which supplies 95 Shell and BP locations in Northeast Wisconsin, representing more than 100 million gallons annually. Of those stores, Titletown Oil owns 20 of them, branded as Grand Central Stations.
Bayland Buildings, which is leading construction of the new store, has worked with Pamperin for about 30 years on various projects, including remodeling the original Stadium Shell store several times. “He never let anything get outdated,” says Bayland President Steve Ambrosius.
While most wholesalers only supply fuel to stations, Pamperin also operates his own stores. “We have the ability to help (staff) with day-to-day questions because we’re in it with them. They know who to call for an answer.”
With the success of his convenience stores, Pamperin created an oil company that could maintain profitable growth by selling Shell gasoline. He looked at the competition, considered neighborhoods and monitored traffic patterns before building or acquiring stations.
“What I always tried to pride myself on was we kept our customers,” Pamperin says. “Once we got a customer, my goal was to keep them for as long as they were in business. We have a very good retention rate.”
have a very good retention rate.” In his 35 years in business, Pamperin says the biggest changes have been the way
customers interact at gas stations. “When I started, we repaired cars and did full service,” he says. “The biggest change is literally every customer paid with check or cash; now it’s all credit cards.
“Our biggest expense is credit card fees — credit card fees have outpaced labor costs,” Pamperin says.
While customers still come to Pamperin’s stations to fill up, the stores’ biggest profit centers are food and car washes. “We don’t make a lot of money on gas,” he says. “We stay competitive.”
Many retailers shut down due to COVID-19, but essential businesses, such as gas stations, remained open and thrived. “I
didn’t realize (the pandemic) was going to last as long as it has,” Pamperin says. “Employees and employers all had fear (about) staying open. We had to manage through that.”
With some employers cutting workers or pay, Pamperin took a different approach: He gave everyone a 5 percent raise. That move relieved some worries among Titletown Oil employees, including many who live paycheck to paycheck.