The Des Moines location will focus on food and beverages plus typical convenience items.
ANKENY, Iowa — Casey's went fuel-free with its newest convenience store. The retailer opened its first location without any gas pumps in Des Moines on April 22.
The 3,380-square-foot store, located at 3121 Forest Ave. near the campus of Drake University, will operate from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, according to a report by the Des Moines Register. In lieu of fuel sales, the store will focus on food, beverages and typical convenience items.
As a non-fuel model, the new store will best fit the needs of the community in which it operates, according to Katie Petru, director, communications & community, at Casey's.
"We think that everything we have here is what the community and guests in this very walkable environment will need," Petru told the news outlet.
As the first non-fuel convenience store in Casey's portfolio, the store will serve as something of a testing ground and could lead to more stores without fuel pumps.
"This is the only store like this in our portfolio, so we will learn some things from it," Petru said. "And I think regardless, we're always looking at where we're situating ourselves and what will make sense there. I think a more urban environment or college campus environment could naturally lend itself to consider whether fuel needs to be there or not."
Earlier this year, Casey's announced continued store growth as one of its three main goals for 2022, as Convenience Store News reported. This includes organic growth as well as growth through mergers and acquisitions, Casey's CEO Darren Rebelez said during the 2022 ICR Conference, held virtually on Jan. 11. The convenience store operator is also seeking to expand its private brands and prepared food offerings and increase customer signups for its Casey's Rewards digital loyalty program.
To celebrate the new store's opening, Casey's is offering special deals such as single-topping pizza slices for $1, medium fountain drinks for $1, doughnuts for 50 cents and free coffee.
"It's just all about welcoming the community into our doors and getting them to try out Casey's if they haven't before," Petru explained.
Local residents who attended the grand opening reportedly commended Casey's for filling a need in the area, which has few grocery options in the Drake University neighborhood.
The company previously operated a Casey's Pizza Express store in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, which also did not sell fuel, but the location offered pizza for takeout and delivery only and did not have standard convenience store offerings.
To commemorate the store opening, Casey's donated $10,000 to the local Roosevelt High School and provided a $50,000 Cash for Classrooms grant to East High School.Now in its second year, the Cash for Classrooms program will support projects, physical improvements and resource requests at accredited K-12 public and non-profit, private schools in Casey's communities across the Midwest.
The donations are intended to support the construction of major facility projects and upgrades. They will impact more than 2,000 students in each community, according to the company.
Ankeny-based Casey's is the third-largest convenience store retailer, with more than 2,400 stores in its network, and the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States.