A 'Friendly' C-store Concept Expands in South Dakota

BALTIC, S.D. -- A new convenience store concept is hoping to be a friendly face for customers in the local metropolitan area. According to a report by the Argus Leader, a new Friendly's location -- the third in the chain -- opened at the Baltic exit off Interstate 29.

"Convenience stores tend to copy each other to the point that they're almost generic," said Lindy Swedeen, operations manager for Big Cup Inc., which oversees Friendly's and Coffee Cup Fuel Stops on Interstate 90. "We're just trying to come up with a new concept that relies on a fresh presentation."

Friendly's offering will include freshly baked items like rolls and muffins, and its own brand of pizza, also prepared on-site. The company plans to expand its menu and introduce new items at the Baltic store, Swedeen said.

"It's our own recipes. It's our own concepts. It's our own way of making things," he told the newspaper. "Our motto is fresh, fast and fun."

In addition to the foodservice component, the newest Friendly's location in Baltic features a casino with video-lottery machines. The store also sells typical convenience items, including gas, snacks, candy, carbonated soft drinks, beer and f'real milkshakes. In addition, Friendly's plans to add purses, shirts and novelty items that are popular with travelers, said Whitni Baker, manager.

The Baltic convenience store, gas pumps and casino are currently open, while the foodservice will start soon. The gas pumps are open 24 hours, and the c-store is open from 5 a.m. to midnight.

Friendly's other two locations include a store in Humboldt opened last fall, and one at the junction of highways 81 and 34 at Jake's Corner near Winifred. The chain plans more growth in the future, Swedeen said.

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