Upscale Upstarts Reinvent the American Convenience Store
A look at the entrepreneurial, upscale retailers disrupting the $654 billion ‘c-store’ industry, and how big players like 7-Eleven and others are responding with their own high-end makeovers.
By: Victor Martino, Contributor
Convenience stores (“c-stores” in industry parlance) used to be where people stopped to fuel their cars and pick up Cokes, smokes and snacks.
But the times, they are a-changing in the U.S. convenience store industry, which is poised to generate sales of $654.3 billion in 2019, an 8.9% increase over the previous year, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores’ (NACS) 2019 State of the Industry Report. Industry sales have increased every year for the last 16 years, according to NACS.
A new crop of upstart convenience retailers, like Alltown Fresh on the east coast, Foxtrot in Illinois, Green Zebra Grocery in Oregon, The Goods Mart in California, Choice Market in Colorado, Barrels and Vines in Michigan and Bridges General on both coasts, are disrupting the industry status quo by offering restaurant-quality fresh, prepared foods, salads, organic and better-for-you packaged goods, gourmet bean-to-cup coffee, fresh produce — and even craft beer and kombucha on tap — in upscale buildings replete with wood inlaid flooring, soft lighting and attractive refrigerated display cases and shelving. These aren’t your grandfather’s convenience stores.
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