Nov 23, 2016
2:39 pm


CTM Design Ltd.


Twenty-five years ago, CTM opened our doors as a result of a major shift in the retail petroleum industry. Today, the industry is going through another seismic change… and we continue to evolve with it.

Not so long ago, most of the leading petroleum retailer/wholesalers had internal drafting and engineering departments that were responsible for applying corporate design standards to each individual location. But the late 1980s and early 1990s were a challenging time for the oil industry, and firms were looking for ways to streamline operations.

As a result, Petro-Canada decided to close down its retail petroleum design department in 1991 and outsource this service. They chose to partner with CTM Design: a new firm formed specifically to meet their requirements.

The first thing we did was to hire the talented and highly experience Petro-Canada employees who were being displaced by this change. After all, they knew the company’s retail and wholesale design specifications inside-out, and would become the backbone of our team.

Back in those days, most service stations focused exclusively on selling gas. Many stations still had mechanic bays. The idea of broadening the service offering to include a convenience store (c-store) was just starting to take hold. In addition, value-added services such as onsite touchless car washes were gaining in popularity. CTM was there to help Petro-Canada implement this new business model to its stations across Western Canada.

It wasn’t long before Esso followed Petro-Canada’s lead, and approached CTM to handle its retail and wholesale design projects as well. The fuel business was expanding to include new entrants, such as United Farmers Association (UFA) and Calgary Co-op. Then it was Shell Canada, Parkland Industries, Husky Energy, Canada’s Safeway and Canadian Tire. CTM was growing – as was our team.

Husky and Parkland both offered CTM the opportunity to create and manage a national design standard drawing package, consolidating existing design practices into a consistent set of guidelines. CTM was responsible for compiling and communicating design requirements to the contractor responsible for the project. As a result, we were able to act on behalf of each client to ensure these standards were successfully and consistently implemented throughout the organization.

We have subsequently taken on similar work for United Farmers of Alberta (UFA): developing design standards and implementation guidelines for their convenience stores and warehousing facilities. CTM also conducts ongoing maintenance updates to UFA’s petroleum facility standards.

With the arrival of the new millennium, another transformation was taking place. To attract fuel customers away from the competition and explore complementary profit centres, retailers were starting to introduce quick service restaurants into its operations, complete with drive-thru service.

While CTM was always certified to practice design and engineering throughout Western Canada, we were thrilled to achieve similar certification for Ontario in 2011. Shortly after, in 2012, we added architectural and interior design capabilities to the mix. This allowed us to take on projects of a larger nature and branch out to build strip malls and retail outlet stores for clients in a variety of sectors. Mark’s Work Warehouse and Vans Clothing Store are just two examples of our recent foray into the retail clothing business.

Today, yet another radical change is taking place in the retail petroleum business. National fuel providers such as Esso are divesting interests in bricks and mortar locations.

This represents a tremendous opportunity for independent owner/operators to get into the game with single or multiple locations. As independent owners are often new to the design and engineering process we are working hard to share our expertise to guide them along the way. We are committed to ensuring their store is built properly so their businesses are set for success.

The move towards divestment and amalgamation isn’t just limited to independent retailers. We’re currently working with 7-11 to convert a number of Esso convenience stores in Alberta and British Columbia to the 7-11 brand. As well, CTM is helping Husky Energy amalgamate all of their corporate Cardlock sites under the Esso brand. These are exciting times, indeed!

The past 25-years have been incredibly rewarding. We’ve been able to build on our experience in gas station design and translate it into car washes, c-stores, quick service restaurants, retail outlets, strip malls and more. It has been an amazing journey.

On behalf of the entire CTM team, we’d like to thank all of our new and long-term clients who have trusted the success of their businesses to CTM over the years. We consider you our friends. As well, we’d like to tip our hat to the employees who’ve help us establish a reputation for excellence over the past 25 years.

Change is a constant in our business. We’re excited to see what the future has in store.

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