Success Story

How gas station, convenience store, and car wash operator Spinx maintains health and safety standards

August 4, 2022

“I appreciate everything that Solink has done for us. It’s a high quality product that continues to improve every day. Solink doesn’t just sit idle—they move their product forward and that’s something we like to see. That brings us a lot of benefits. The service quality is next level, and we look forward to working with Solink more in the future.”

Concerns

  • Selling alcohol to minors has become a major issue of concern in South Carolina.
  • It’s hard to pinpoint high-risk areas for health and safety incidents.
  • Auditing 85+ locations for cleanliness is time-consuming.

Results

  • All alcohol sales are shown on the Solink dashboard so it is quick and easy to confirm age verification procedures are being followed.
  • Heat maps allow focusing maintenance measures on high-risk areas of stores.
  • Camera linking makes it easy to find specific issues while on site.

The client:
Spinx operates 85+ gas stations, convenience stores, and car washes across South Carolina

Spinx is a gas station, convenience store, and car wash operator concentrated in South Carolina with a few locations in North Carolina. They currently have 85 locations with plans to be at 90 by the end of the year and will continue to expand by 10 per year going forward.

Spinx has been using Solink for a little over a year. Solink is currently in about half of the Spinx locations with the goal of being in all locations by the end of the year and to continue installing Solink at every new location.

Brandon Nicholson, the Safety and Security Manager, discusses how Spinx is using Solink.

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The challenge:
Maintain health and safety standards across a rapidly growing company

Spinx has been expanding quickly, and requires technology partners to manage the growing number of locations. With 85+ locations to maintain, Brandon needed help focusing his attention on the highest-risk areas of his stores.

“We want to remove potential hazards and liabilities to keep our customers safe, as well as ourselves.”

South Carolina takes sales of alcohol to minors very seriously, and there has been a recent uptick in the level of surveillance. Brandon was looking for ways to protect Spinx and their customers from unlawful alcohol sales.

“There have been a lot of alcohol sales to minor incidents recently in the southern part of the state. So we want to make sure that we are covered and do whatever we can to protect our customers.”

Not all of Spinx’s locations are the same. Different locations cater to different needs, so understanding when maintenance should take place is important. Brandon wanted a data-driven way to make decisions on when to inspect equipment for wear and tear or instruct his staff to clean the washrooms.

“Our stores are all very different. One might be really busy in the morning with coffee and donut sales, while another is busier at lunch with the deli sales and others during the evening rush hour. We need to understand these schedules to focus our efforts on the right areas at the right time.”

Summary:

  • In South Carolina, every person who looks under 40 must present I.D. for age verification before purchasing alcohol. It is difficult to confirm these procedures are being followed across 85+ busy convenience stores.
  • Health and safety risks, such as slip-and-falls, are a business concern for Spinx. Finding high-risk areas for better timed maintenance can be a challenge.
  • Not all Spinx locations have the same busy periods. It is important to schedule cleaning, for example of the washrooms, to ensure they are safe and pleasant to use while not wasting time.

Learn how Solink can support your business.

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Why Solink?

Spinx was using a different video analytics provider previously, but they weren’t providing the services required. Brandon was looking for something easier, faster, and of a higher quality and turned to Solink for the solution.

“The quality and ease of use was the main reason we picked Solink. The system we were using prior was slow, complicated, and congested. It didn’t filter data well, and it took a lot of time to do anything. The way Solink can find and filter video and data saves a lot of time. In today’s world, people expect quick results and Solink is able to provide that.”

Spinx understands the importance of data. They were looking for a video analytics provider that can integrate with all of their systems. Solink connects their POS and video cameras to provide actionable insights.

“The big thing was Solink’s data integration and how easy it is to have video and data side by side. We do a lot of data collection, whether it's data being sent and received from head office or customer and transaction data inside the stores. It’s important for us to be able to use heat maps to see where we are busy and at what times. It helps us push the right products in the right places at the right time.”

Once Solink was installed at the first few stores, it became clear that Spinx could use better camera coverage of their properties. Solink’s local partner helped procure and install more cameras.

“Solink helped us acquire high-quality security cameras through their partner, so we’ve been able to improve the video coverage.”

While Spinx was more interested in the quality of the service and the features provided, Brandon also noted that Solink won on price over the other companies they considered.

“The pricing of Solink was also a lot better than the other companies that we tested.”

The solution:
Solink provides the features Brandon needs to maintain safety and security across 85+ locations

When Brandon opens up the Solink app, the Dashboard immediately shows him all of the alcohol sales. He can then spend time checking to make sure the regulations on alcohol sales are being followed. If he sees employees who aren’t as vigilant on age verification, he can make a note about training needs. This has helped Spinx decrease the number of tickets they are receiving for selling alcohol to minors.

“When I open the Solink Dashboard, I look for alcohol sales to determine whether the employee is scanning the driver’s license. That’s a big issue down here. Every time a person buys alcohol, the employee needs to check their I.D. or press a button that says they look over 40. I can check to see who is always pressing the over 40 button, or who is just not doing age verification at all. Since this is a current issue in South Carolina, I want to make sure that we are protecting our customers as well as ourselves. It’s working, as I’ve seen less ticketing so far this year. With Solink, our employees know that we are watching. I can also see when we need retraining. Solink definitely helps.”

Brandon uses heat maps to target his safety inspections in high traffic areas. That way, the busiest parts of the business are also the safest.

“If the heat map in Solink shows me that the soda machine is really busy, then I can spend some time looking around there to see what potential hazards might be occurring. I can check for wear and tear, which is really important from a safety aspect.”

Solink's heatmap feature show on mobile phone.

Learn how Solink can support your business.

With 85+ stores to manage, Brandon looks to Solink to understand which stores are busy at what times. That way he can get the staff to spend more time cleaning when necessary to ensure the safety of customers.

“It’s important to do maintenance at the right time. I want to make sure that a location is at its safest and most secure when it is busiest. The heat maps can tell me at what time of day there is a lot of activity. If I know that between 8 and 9 a.m. there’s a lot of traffic near the washrooms, then I can make sure that employees are cleaning them. When washrooms get dirty, there’s a high risk for slip-and-falls, and we want to protect the employees and ourselves from that liability.”

Brandon visits five to eight stores most days. These safety audits are an important part of keeping Spinx free from potential liabilities, but they are time consuming. With 10 new locations opening every year, Brandon is using Camera Linking by Solink to speed up his audits.

“I like the Camera Linking feature. It shows me exactly which cameras I need to look at next. That's a time saver. I normally visit anywhere from five to eight locations a day depending on where they are. Camera Linking definitely speeds up the site audit process. Instead of having to physically walk around those locations, I can just turn on Solink and virtually walk around the store instead.”

The result:
Spinx now has cleaner, safer, more compliant locations

Brandon is able to perform better audits in less time with the help of Solink. He’s now able to see the parts of the store that are at highest risk and focus on them using heat maps. Camera Linking is allowing him to virtualize some of the on-site physical checks, saving time.

“When I go to a store, I’m usually looking for particular things, and Solink saves me time finding everything because it’s all readily available. The customer counting has helped me realize how busy some of these locations are and what type of products are most appealing. Now, when I do my safety audits, I can focus more on the busiest areas. When the heat maps in Solink show me an area is busy, I know that I should take extra time looking for hazards in that area. It’s been a big benefit to me.”

As more stores use Solink and they integrate more systems, he sees growing benefits over time for Spinx.

“Solink is helping us understand our data. As more stores use Solink, and other departments start looking at the data, I think we will definitely see even more cost benefit over time.”

In Spinx’s words

“Solink is constantly coming out with new products and new ideas. I’ve given Sadhvi [a Senior Customer Success Manager at Solink] a lot of feedback, and they’ve implemented some of the feedback and are working on the others. I appreciate that responsiveness.”

“Solink’s customer support is great. It’s been super helpful, whether it’s Sadhvi [a Senior Customer Success Manager at Solink] or the chat interface on the Solink website, they respond quickly. The customer service is next level. Even the store managers can contact Solink directly, which is super helpful.”

“Solink is dependable, a team member you can rely on. Anytime we need something, Solink is always available, gets the job done, and the quality of work is next level.”

Spinx’s three favorite features

Brandon loves a lot of the features on the Solink platform, but three of his favorites are heat maps, the Dashboard, and Camera Linking. He uses the heat maps to identify busy locations that may need extra thorough safety checks or a higher frequency of cleaning and maintenance. The Dashboard lets him see immediately all the alcohol sales so he can audit the videos for regulatory compliance. Camera Linking let’s Brandon do virtual tours of locations, saving him time physically walking around the properties.

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Dashboard

The dashboard shows you all of the data you need to see. The Customer Success Team sets it up with the specific graphs and feeds you find important. It is fully customizable to fit the needs of each customer.

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Heatmaps

Heat maps give you amazing insight into how customers flow through your business. Placing the right products at the right place on the floor has never been easier.

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Camera Linking

Solink’s Camera Linking AI automatically creates associations between cameras by detecting motion patterns across adjacent cameras. When reviewing footage in Solink’s video player, you can navigate from one camera to another intuitively without prior knowledge of the site’s layout.

Learn how Solink can support your business.