Vertical Slider with speak hole featured in a convenience store environment

Good-Looking Ballistic Barriers for Fuel Centers and Gas Stations

Convenience Store Security

Vertical Slider with speak hole featured in a convenience store environmentOver the past few decades Total Security Solutions has designed hundreds of ballistic security systems for new and renovated gas stations and fuel centers. TSS has honed their design and fabrication tools and practices, so that they can always find the best solution for each client and situation. That means being able to deliver solutions that meet the unique security, business, and aesthetic demands of nationwide retailers, while also being true to their brands.

 Eight Levels bullet resistance

Bulletproof Features for Gas Stations and Fuel Centers: Two Important Factors

In TSS CEO Jim Richards’ experience, there are two primary factors that make or break a security barrier for a corporate fuel center. And neither of them has to do with security. “Security is the easy part,” Jim has said. The challenges come with:

  1. aesthetic elements
  2. beverage sales

In contrast to the independents, corporate fuel center operators need to spend much more time making sure that all of the aesthetic elements of their ballistic barrier system align with their brand identity.

“We’ve done a lot of different things over the years to get the look a company was after,” Jim noted.  “For example, this was quite a few years ago, but we did at least 50 filling stations for one national fuel retailer.  They had a unique design, and needed completely custom curved bullet resistant transparency that was also operable, so it could rotate out of the way during peak hours. In order to accomplish that, each of those acrylic pieces had to be drape-formed prior to us doing any fabrication. It was a really interesting design challenge, and everyone was really pleased with the results. We did stations like that for them for years.”

Bullet Resistant Barriers Designed for Retail Environments

Branding and inviting decor are important to corporate fuel centers. But at the end of the day, selling fuel isn’t even a third of the profit.

“We understand that especially for corporate oil companies, they don’t make the bulk of their money on gas,” Jim says. “We know that their best margins are on convenience items: snacks and fountain soda and bottled water. This introduces design challenges, when it comes to security.  Some of that’s obvious—keeping the pump islands brightly lit, being aware of sightliness along the approaches to the register. But other things, people don’t think about. If over two-thirds of your net profit hinges on selling pop, you better have a way to sell customers their beverage any time, night or day.”

A perfect example of this is TSS’s long-term relationships with several national fuel center operators.

A Reliable, Large-Scale Ballistic Solution for a Major National Fuel Retailer

Over the course of the last 7+ years TSS has installed more than fifty Level 2 bullet resistant barrier systems throughout the U.S. for a single well-known national fuel center operator. TSS worked with this client to develop four different bullet resistant systems (one for each of the four primary square-footage/layout combinations the company deploys). All four designs featured a 16-foot long counter that needed to be secured, above and bellow.   

“Counters themselves are easy,” Jim recalls. “You just take what they have and back it with layers of bullet resistant fiberglass. Any dry waller could do it. But the transparency was trickier. They really wanted that open, clean look. And like every other fuel center, they needed to be able to handle high-volume sales during peak hours, when commuters and travelers are gassing up, grabbing a drink, and hitting the road.”

TSS ended up designing and engineering a custom “vertical-slider” operable bullet resistant window system. The space above the 16-foot counter was framed out in bullet resistant framing elements that included a central mullion. This broke the space into two 8-foot runs. Each of those pieces of ballistic acrylic was then counterweighted like a sash-style window. The result was a system that could be quickly and easily locked down by any employee, despite the weight of the barrier (bullet resistant glass starts at 8 pounds per square foot—roughly four times that of standard glass—and goes up from there.)

“Being able to lift all of the glass up during the day time, that was a good solution. They’ve been really pleased with the results. Several workers can really whip through transactions all day without being on top of each other, and then even a lone worker can lock down and safely handle the station at night.”