The humble convenience store is losing some of its humility — at least, a few of them are. There is a new generation of c-stores out there shaking up the traditional model by selling higher-end, healthful products, inside aesthetically designed settings.
Like other convenience stores, The Goods Mart, out in Los Angeles, sells a lot of coffee and slushies. But the coffee is from La Colombe, a Philadelphia-based sustainable-roasting company, and the slushies are organic, reports Supermarket News.
The Goods Mart, Los Angeles The coffee is high-end and the slushies are organic
“We have a lot of different things that you’d find at, say, a 7-Eleven, but it’s all better-for-you-type ingredients, in the sense of [there being] no artificial colors, preservatives, dyes,” Goods Mart founder and owner Rachel Krupa told Supermarket News. “We curated around 300 to 350 products that I tried and tested and also read up on.”
Foxtrot, an operator of five shops in Chicago, sets aside about a third of its shelf space for traditional convenience-store items, but it also offers coffee and wine — as well as couches and chairs on which the customers can kick back and drink.
Foxtrot, Chicago Offering coffee, couches and chairs
At Choice Market, in Denver, meanwhile, customers can get made-to-order sandwiches, salads and smoothies, and eat them right there in the shop. Coffee is a best-seller, but so are organic bananas and Coca-Cola, owner Mike Fogarty told Supermarket News. Choice Market sells about “90 percent better-for-you [products]; 10 percent traditional c-store and large CPG brands,” Fogarty said. “But people still drink Coca-Cola and still eat Skittles and stuff like that.”
Choice Market, Denver Coffee is king, but so are organic bananas and Coca-Cola
Fogarty says he was inspired by the East Coast Wawa convenience stores he visited when he was growing up and also by the small-format grocery stores he saw while traveling in Europe.
“It became clear that there was an opportunity to rethink the convenience store and what it means to be convenient,” Fogarty told Supermarket News. “With all the changes in terms of people smoking less, cars being more efficient — all these key revenue drivers for the convenience store were continuing to decrease, but food and food service was becoming more and more popular.”
By Edmund Mander