At Battle Lake Standard, relationships span decades, inside and outside the store.

Last week, in Part 1 of a customer profile on SSCS customer, Battle Lake Standard, we talked about how the store has been part of the small, tight-knit community’s fabric for 40 years. For owners Dale and Pam Cameron, this is a personal business, and they have formed countless long-term relationships across the Minnesota lake country and beyond. Many have lasted across generations.

It’s a special kind of bond. “We’ve had the privilege of watching whole families grow up,” says Dale. “We’re serving children and grandchildren of customers, and get a real kick out of seeing them having a good time in and around the property, maybe climbing over our dinosaur mascot outside the store. In fact, we just had to build it a new pen, because of the wear and tear on the old one!”

There’s another side to this family-centric orientation, too: the business side. Citizens of Battle Lake, and returning summer visitors, have watched generations of Camerons working at “the Standard.” Family members have grown up washing windows, sweeping, pumping gas, and running the cash register. Ten grandkids work or have worked there. All three of the Camerons’ sons came back to help out after completing college.

But even as the family and business continued to thrive, one thing remained conspicuously absent at the Standard: a back office computer. The Cameron family’s success had been built using a bookkeeping software package and an outside accountant. But their ongoing success was mostly a testimony to the solid business practices they’d mastered operating through largely manual means.

Even though this was the case, there was the feeling among the Camerons, including their now adult sons, that their performance could improve with technology. So they began to look into convenience store software, which is when, about four years ago, they got acquainted with SSCS.

“Battle Lake Standard was doing an incredible number of things right, and they had been doing them right for a long time,” says the SSCS Sales Engineer who helped transition the Standard to SSCS Technology. “That made them a perfect candidate for our software—which, at its heart, supports procedural best practices, which they’d already largely mastered. If there was a store ready for our technology, this was it.”

Still, the most exciting aspect of the operation was how much additional growth potential they could tap into by using SSCS’s Computerized Daily Book back office system, with its emphasis on and ability to track inventory by item. The Camerons would be able to zero in on price movement and inventory performance in the most granular ways possible. They’d get feedback through timely reporting, alerts, and flagging, keep even the tightest margins free of erosion, and identify trends, good or bad, that might not otherwise be spotted.

“For me, I saw the SSCS system and realized we could get more precise in tracking our profit,” Dale says. “In this business, it’s all about the margins and then some, and with SSCS software we can keep an up-to-date eye on what affects them; things you might not otherwise see. It’s timely information so you can take action fast. Once you scan an item into the system, it’s captured; you have complete control. The more things you can scan, the better.”

Battle Lake Standard got up to speed in a relatively short time. “The store’s team was open to technology and what it could do, so they made rapid progress and saw results quickly,” adds the SSCS sales engineer. “As a result, they use almost all the features of the system—you could call them a power user—because they were more than ready as far as procedural practices went. And they just got more motivated by the increase in margins they saw.”

Battle Lake Standard is proof that the entrepreneurial spirit can combine the best of the old and the new. While embracing traditions like family bonds, meaningful relationships, and good basic business principles, the company also has one foot planted in the future, through the continued additions to its business, and embracing the software that can position it for a generations to come.

“I can’t really think of a better way to spend 40 years,” states Don. “Battle Lake has been a great community to raise a family and run a business in. I feel truly blessed.”