MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After two robberies in less than three months, a Sauk Rapids gas station owner decided to try something different. His unique offer gained so much attention that business is now up.
Now, the owner says a single sheet of paper is changing his business.
The new, nondescript sign hanging on a Sauk Rapids Shell gas station is changing business for owner Frank Schwagel.
“If you come in and provide evidence that you are law enforcement, security or have a permit to carry a firearm — if you show it to my employees you’ll get a 10 cent per gallon discount on any gas you’ll buy,” he said.
In March and May of this year, the small town gas station was robbed twice — once at gunpoint.
“It’s very frustrating,” Schwagel said. “You get mad and concerned about your employees.”
While local police are doing their job investigating the crime, Frank thought to make a move on his own: offer discounted gas to law enforcement and those with a permit to carry after 7 p.m.
“It was just an idea to increase store traffic in the evening and get people in here so my employees wouldn’t have to be down here alone at night,” he said.
He posted the sign Tuesday, and within a week a photo of the new offer went viral on Facebook.
“The next thing, the radio was calling and newspaper and now TV stations are calling,” Schwagel said.
The uptick in customers is not only good for business, but a busy store helps employees feel safer.
“It’s working out so far,” Schwagel said. “We have a lot more people coming in at night versus what we used to have. It’s been a good thing so far.”
Shwagel says he’s also installed a new security and surveillance system in his store, and he hopes to see other gas stations adopt their policy.