Royal Buying Group, Inc. (RBG) was established in 1995 with the expressed purpose of providing support to Shell Oil Dealers in regards to convenience store operations. A corporate structure consisting of six departments, including Business Development - Corporate/Legal/Human Resources – Finance – Information Technology – Membership - and Vendors was established to create an integrated, passionate team of experienced entrepreneurs looking to improve products, services, and technology available to independent convenience store operators - while also improving the operator’s access to these essential business tools.
Combining the talents of six Executive Board Directors, our corporate mission is to be the best provider of procurement services worldwide. Experienced in petroleum site operations/franchises, convenience store operations/franchises, food service operations/franchises, auto repair operations/franchises, rental car operations/franchises, contract operations, corporate operations, and multi-site operations; this unique group of industry veterans has over two hundred years of business experience in a variety of retail formats. Our core legacy business includes negotiations of products and services (called “Vendor Programs”), coupled with the necessary marketing support ensuring a competitive advantage for RBG members. Royal Buying Group, Inc. continues to expand its membership and participation through these Vendor Programs by the use of a proprietary, advanced Customer Relationship Management Database.
The development of an annual marketing manual, monthly promotional offerings, weekly eNews (electronic newsletter), numerous websites, field and telephone-based support calls and site visits - coupled with our executive team’s real life “litmus test”; have proven to be successful in increasing sales and vendor compliance requirements by RBG members while saving enormous costs to both the c-store operators and our preferred vendor partners. An established single source forum for vendor negotiations has created stability within the convenience store channel while offering consistent programs for members of Royal Buying Group. And, RBG’s information technology systems provide state of the art velocity tracking which is needed for proof of performance for all vendor programs. Over 5500 locations spanning 50 states, all major oil company brands, and most independent convenient store brands depend on RBG today to process rebates, allowances, bill-backs, commissions, and placement dollars resulting in millions of additional dollars channeled to the RBG member sites.
After a successful launch and the commitment by the Executive Board in this initiative, the convenience store industry began a slow conversion from corporate run convenience store locations to a dependence on independent operators to operate convenience retailing sites. In 1998, Royal Buying Group’s board decided to expand the business by allowing all brands of petroleum and convenience stores the opportunity of joining the RBG membership ranks. As the growth of members grew over time, new positions were added to the business model, insuring proper service levels while increasing revenue opportunities. An expansion of our office space allowed us to develop more services for RBG members while providing an acceptable work environment.
As the convenience store industry evolved, Royal Buying Group saw the need to consolidate the “buying group” industry. In 1999, RBG acquired the National Buying Group of Wisconsin, adding over one hundred new RBG members. Additional acquisitions would occur in later years – iRAMA from Strasburger Enterprises in 2002, and the Independent Buying Group of Florida in 2003. RBG is positioned to continue searching for more consolidation opportunities, while at the same time continuing to add additional products and services as needs are identified.
The year 2000 saw a number of Oil Companies begin to consider divestiture of corporate assets to increase their total return on investment. Royal Buying Group put together a team of experts in finance, operations, and fuel management and developed a new division called Royal Petroleum. While unsuccessful in the acquisition of certain asset sales, Royal Petroleum learned from these initiatives and has successfully positioned the company to take advantage of market sales that would be beneficial to RBG.
In June of 2001, the first of many milestones was reached by Royal Buying Group. Our 1000th location signed up on the RBG program. The Royal Buying Group Pre-Paid Phone Card was developed, successfully launching a re-loadable stored value product using a cost effective debit network to activate or recharge the card. This pre-paid long distance phone card offered competitive rates both domestically and internationally and provided both a low cost per minute rate with a surcharge or a non-surcharge choice of product. The RBG Phone Card was a state of the art product in design, use, and functionality. RBG moved its office a second time, relocating to the Office Park of Elm Court area in Hinsdale, Illinois. Continued expansion of personnel allowed us to develop more category manager positions, and began creating redundancy in our positions to provide additional flexibility in personnel activities.
2002 saw the development of Royal Management Services. Incorporating the learnings of two Executive Board members, RBG saw the need to offer contract management services to the oil and banking industries, both on a short and long term basis. Other positive synergies presented themselves by combining the expertise in site operations with the additional profit from the use of Royal Buying Group programs and services. Additional alliances were formed within the industry with CSSARA (California Service Station Automotive Repair Association) and SOGGDA (Southwest Ohio Gasoline and Garage Dealers Association). Our third office move also occurred mid-year, expanding our office space to almost 6000 square feet.
Continued expansion was present in 2003, as RBG created Royal Buying Group Select – a higher level program directed towards multi-site operators. The 2000th RBG member location signed up and another division of the company named Royal Merchandising Services was introduced to the convenience store vendor/supplier community. Royal Merchandising Services was developed to provide additional site level support to the hundreds of vendors/suppliers in the industry that have reduced their own internal work forces. Along with another 2000 square feet of warehouse space acquired that year, Royal Merchandising Services has continued to grow each year in projects initiated, projects completed, and revenue. However, the greatest long term initiative completed this year was the creation of the STARZ Buying Club, a proprietary convenience retailing services program exclusively operated for Shell Oil Products US.
Membership continued to accelerate in 2004, as RBG signed up its 3000th member in the beginning of the year and its 4000th member in the fall of the year. Additional proprietary buying clubs were introduced for Gulf Oil, Sinclair Oil, and Getty Petroleum Marketing (encompassing the LukOil, KwikFarms, and Getty brands). And, due to increased processing of rebate monies, Royal Buying Group, Inc. made the 2003 list of Inc. 500 companies, registering in as the 252nd fastest growing company for 2003. The development and introduction of RRewards – RBG’s branded loyalty card was brought to market by the end of 2004. This proprietary but independently flexible loyalty product has been used by single site operators and can also be branded for larger branded marketers. The card has proven to increase purchases and loyalty by consumers in a number of channels.
2005 initiatives continued with the addition of a convenience store program specifically designed for Connect2One, a division of the Nebraska Book Company (public company) and an alliance with NATSO, the association representing truck stops and travel plaza centers in North America. AACSA (Asian American Convenience Store Association) also partnered with Royal Buying Group, Inc. to provide the AACSA membership additional benefits on the convenience store side of their businesses. Numerous wholesale marketers also joined RBG in 2005. The TETCO Advantage, a proprietary convenience store services program, is just one example of the many alliances RBG created in recent years. The 5000th RBG member location signed up in 2005, and RBG’s President/CEO was elected onto the NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) Supplier Board. RBG is now one of only twenty top companies represented in the convenience store industry in this select organization. Shell Oil Products US and RBG also extended their exclusive contract for convenience retailing services named the “STARZ Buying Club” for additional years.
July 2005 also marked another milestone for Royal Buying Group, Inc. The creation of a new division named the Royal Performance Group (RPG) was formed to manage and expand the various stored value products in the RBG program, and to provide turnkey stored value and prepaid solutions to top tier retailers. Additional Management Departments were created including Sales, Marketing, and Operations to support this initiative. RPG has hired successful industry veterans of the gift card industry to head up this initiative and has currently forged alliances with some of the top retailers to provide sales, marketing, and fulfillment services both in the United States and in Europe. The last half of 2005 and the first half of 2006 saw Royal Buying Group create additional alliances with Blackhawk Network, Inc. (a division of Safeway) to provide gift card malls, and InComm, a leading prepaid telecom provider.
In September of 2006, Royal Performance Group moved into a state of the art facility located in Lisle, Illinois to handle all stored value card programs. And, Royal Buying Group, Inc. executed a multi-year contract as the exclusive provider of Sales, Marketing, and Fulfillment of the Shell Gift Card. In December 2006, Royal Buying Group purchased a German Company and renamed it Royal Buying Group (Europe) GmbH.
February 2007 began as Royal Buying Group, Inc. executed a multi-year contract with Shell International Petroleum Company to provide Sales, Marketing, and Fulfillment of the Shell Gift Card worldwide. As of March 1 2007, Royal Buying Group (Europe) GmbH officially opened in another state of the art processing facility at the AirportCenter in Hamburg, Germany. Royal Buying Group, Inc. also moved its offices in the middle of 2007, acquiring adjacent space to its card processing facility located in Lisle Illinois. Royal Buying Group, Inc. was also honored as an Inc. 5000 award winner, marking the second time in its history that it was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of America’s fastest growing companies. Royal Buying Group (Europe) GmbH negotiated a call off letter with EuroShell Deutschland to provide Sales, Marketing, and Fulfillment services throughout Germany on behalf of Shell. And on September 17th, 2007 – the Shell PrePaid Card was launched in Germany.
Royal Performance Group acquired additional warehouse space in 2007, continuing to add inventory of stored value card products in a secure environment. Royal Performance Group and Royal Buying Group now occupy over 13,000 s.f. of office and warehouse space to service our growing customer base. Royal Performance Group also successfully executed a multi-year agreement with Jiffy Lube International to provide Sales, Marketing, and Fulfillment services in the launch of the Jiffy Lube Gift Card. Other choice program gift cards have been added to the variety of card offerings of Royal Performance Group, and proprietary websites including reloadable card web based products have been added to the portfolio.
The Executive Board of Royal Buying Group, Inc. also created another company in 2007 named RBG Holdings, Inc. to handle continued expansion in international opportunities. The end of 2007 saw RBG Holdings, Inc. successfully acquiring the assets of Royal Buying Group (Europe) GmbH, setting the stage for additional expansion in Europe in 2008.
Royal Buying Group, Inc. is confidently in a position to provide these same services - and more - to the entire network of all branded convenience/gas retailers. Given the aggressive forces working within the marketplace, retailers will see substantial benefits from group buying and marketing support provided through RBG. Royal Buying Group, Inc. is a member of the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Convenience Store Advisory Group, the California Service Station Automotive Repair Association, the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association, the Texas Petroleum and Convenience Store Association, the Mississippi Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association, the New York Association of Convenience Stores, the Service Station Dealers of America-Allied Trades, the National Association of Shell Marketers, the BP Amoco Marketers Association, the Southwest Gasoline and Garage Dealers Association, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, and the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards. Royal Buying Group, headquartered in Lisle, Illinois is an international organization dedicated to maximizing sales and profitability of convenience stores, petroleum locations, college bookstores, truck stop operators, and travel plaza centers. The core service capabilities include negotiating with regional and national suppliers for impactful and competitive sales and marketing programs, providing category management expertise, state of the art marketing support, excellent customer service support as well as a variety of additional service offerings for its membership. Visit our website at www.royalbuying.com for more information on Royal Buying Group, Inc. Royal Performance Group regularly attends InteleCard Expo, NACS Show, the Prepaid Expo, and ETA (Electronic Transaction Association) as well as participating in a number of regional trade shows and exhibiting opportunities. Royal Performance Group (RPG) is a division of Royal Buying Group, Inc. and is located in Lisle, Illinois. RPG specializes in sales and marketing program services of stored value products including prepaid phone cards, loyalty cards, and gift/incentive cards. For more information on Royal Performance Group, please visit www.royalperformancegroup.com or www.rpgglobal.com. For more information on Royal Buying Group (Europe) GmbH, please visit www.rbgeurope.de.