Golden Pantry to Open Georgia's First Autonomous C-store

The chain is partnering with Juxta to bring the Nomad to a mixed-use development, Convenience Store News exclusively learned.
Melissa Kress
Executive Editor
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Logo for Golden Pantry Food Stores

WATKINSVILLE, Ga. — Golden Pantry Food Stores is embracing the next evolution of convenience.

The convenience store chain is teaming up with Juxta for its first autonomous store. In addition to being Georgia's first autonomous c-store, the collaboration marks a transformative shift in how technology is reshaping the traditional retail experience, the companies exclusively told Convenience Store News

Known as the Juxta Nomad, the concept is a portable autonomous, micro retail store by Juxta, a venture by Vontier Corp., parent company of Gilbarco Veeder Root.

Golden Pantry's Nomad store will open at Wire Park in Watkinsville. The mixed-use development, which blends apartments, offices, restaurants, a micro-brewery and a multifaceted events space, has been crafted from a repurposed factory. The integration of Juxta's autonomous retail store at such a location will cater to the diverse footfall ranging from local residents to daily visitors.

"Juxta's vision resonates with our ethos at Golden Pantry. We've always sought ways to innovate while staying true to our roots, and with Juxta's Nomad, we see a future where tradition meets next-generation retail," said Golden Pantry President Robert Griffith.

Watkinsville-based Golden Pantry has 35 locations in northeast Georgia.

[Read more: Convenience Store Retailers Embrace Contactless Checkout Experiences]

Customers shop the store with traditional debit, credit or a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay and an artificial intelligence (AI) computer vision system pairs with advanced shelf sensors to the basket in real time. When it's time to check out, customers can instantly review the basket at the checkout screen or just walk out. They can also have a receipt sent to their phone upon leaving the store.

"Partnering with an esteemed name like Golden Pantry is both an honor and a validation of Juxta's vision," said Om Shankar, co-founder and CEO of Juxta. "Their legacy and reputation for innovation in convenience retail combined with our innovative approach creates a synergy that we believe will redefine the future of the industry. We're enthusiastic about the road ahead and are committed to delivering unparalleled value to Golden Pantry and its customers."

The Ins & Outs of the Nomad

The Juxta Nomad was created to support customers in the expanding electric vehicle (EV) charging sector. It can be installed and operational within 12 hours, enabling drivers and passengers to purchase food and drinks while waiting for their vehicles to charge. 

"JUXTA was born to deliver a technology-driven step change in the micro retail landscape. Our mission is to support station operators transitioning from traditional hydrocarbon fuel stations to EV charging points and collaborate with established retail brands to extend their presence beyond fuel pumps by adding value to the charging station experience and driving top-line growth," Shankar said.

According to executive, the turnkey concept was designed, developed and trialed over an 18-month period to provide multiple benefits for EV charging operators.

"EV players have always known that they have to solve the retail challenge on their sites, but until now, there has been no immediate solution — Juxta provides that solution. The Juxta Nomad is the world's most technologically advanced walk-in vending machine. All our customers need to do is take delivery, connect to electricity power, stock the shelves, cut the ribbon and then walk away, leaving the Nomad to start retailing immediately," Shankar added.

Other benefits, according to technology startup, include:

  • The fully autonomous nature of the JUXTA Nomad removes operator dependency on fixed human labor.
  • With no requirement to accommodate staff or a counter, optimum space is devoted to stock within the 264-square-foot interior.
  • Customers do not need to download an app or register for membership to access to the Junxta Nomad. 

Though Juxta was born to primarily service the EV sector, the company's Nomads can offer multiple benefits to other sectors. A Juxta Nomad can be transported and installed virtually anywhere within 12 hours. Potential locations include hospital parking lots, festivals, campsites, tourist attractions and college campuses.

Additionally, the format can stock any products the retailer wants, even camping supplies.

Responsibility for maintenance, cleaning and restocking lies with the operator. Juxta's AI and camera technology can instantly identify and report any hygiene issues, such as spillages, the company noted, adding depending on how far apart they are geographically, one employee should be able to maintain eight to 12 Juxta Nomads daily, according to the company.