The Pantry

Guarding Against Hackers

The Pantry is a multibillion-dollar convenience chain that operates over 1550 stores in 13 states. They needed to prepare their network for a PCI security audit so they called us for help.

“We didn’t necessarily have the skill set to do this…”

Our security experts took a long look at The Pantry’s store network and identified points of potential concern. We developed a plan to address our concerns and worked closely with The Pantry’s team to get everything resolved.

“Wellshade did a fantastic job in a very short period of time.”

The Pantry passed their PCI audit and remains committed to safeguarding their store network.


The Problem

Loren Allston was the new Director of the IT Program Management Department for The Pantry, Inc., a chain of convenience stores serving the Southeastern U.S. He hadn’t been in his new job very long when a group of hackers made headlines by stealing sensitive customer data from several national retailers. The Pantry, Inc. decided to step up their Payment Card Industry (PCI) security, and Loren learned that his department would undergo a PCI audit.

To prepare for this audit, Allston needed to evaluate the current level of PCI security and make sure that it exceeded federal standards. He wanted to make sure that The Pantry’s sensitive customer data would be safe today, next week, and next year. Even though Allston had his own IT team, with the audit deadline looming and the stakes so high, he didn’t want to take any chances. So he called his old friends at Wellshade.

Allston had worked with us at his previous job and remembered the high degree of customer service we had provided. “We didn’t necessarily have the skill set to do this,” Allston said, “so we looked to Wellshade to come in. Because of their background in compliance-related security, they were perfect.” Allston knew that calling Wellshade would result in a powerful, forward-looking solution that would allow The Pantry to manage their own PCI systems in the future. Wellshade’s engineers would not only prepare The Pantry for the upcoming audit; we would also help set up a system that would protect The Pantry for years to come.


Our Solution

Our engineers looked carefully at The Pantry’s existing systems and pinpointed potential trouble spots. We developed a plan to ensure compliance and exceed the standards where possible. Strict adherence to the PCI requirements would result in The Pantry passing the audit, but it might not protect them from fraud and information theft, as some other companies had recently learned the hard way. We came up with a plan to tackle the long-term goal of increased security while ensuring a successful audit in the short term.

Wellshade then worked alongside The Pantry’s IT team to implement several of the chosen solutions. Instead of completing the whole operation ourselves, Allston says that Wellshade “set themselves up as a teacher for The Pantry organization.” While our primary task is to make sure The Pantry’s IT needs are met, we are always interested in knowledge sharing and collaborating with client teams.

Today, Allston can rest easy knowing that “as a company, we’re doing everything we can to protect our customers…Wellshade did a fantastic job in a very short period of time.” And the proof is in the end result: The Pantry passed their audit with flying colors.


Client Profile

Headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, The Pantry, Inc. is the leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States and one of the largest independently operated convenience store chains in the country. As of 2012, the Company operated 1,589 stores in thirteen states under select banners, including Kangaroo Express®, its primary operating banner. The Pantry’s stores offer a broad selection of merchandise, as well as fuel and other ancillary services designed to appeal to the convenience needs of its customers.