Kum & Go Takes the Wraps Off Its New Prototype
JOHNSTON, Iowa — Kum & Go LC prides itself on not being your “typical” convenience store operator, and with its new Marketplace store concept, nothing could be truer.
Kum & Go President and CEO Kyle Krause unveiled the innovative, new store design at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Wednesday to celebrate the opening of the first Marketplace prototype store, located at 5225 NW 86th St. in Johnston. The store opens to the public at 6 a.m. Thursday with the first 99 customers receiving a coupon for a 99-cent whole pizza.
Convenience Store News was among a small group of media representatives who got a sneak peek Wednesday afternoon at Kum & Go's new look. Click here for a photo gallery.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Krause expressed the retailer's excitement in introducing this site to the Johnston community and bringing to life Kum & Go's slogan of "Where '&' Means More." Thanks to the new Marketplace design — developed in conjunction with branding firm CBX — customers can now truly experience the “more” that the c-store chain provides, the chief executive said.
At 6,000 square feet, the razed-and-rebuilt store marks the largest location in Kum & Go’s portfolio to date. It combines contemporary design with functionality, while putting an emphasis on the brand’s foodservice offerings. Case in point: As soon as customers walk through the doors of the prototype store, they are greeted by the fresh pizza and made-to-order sandwich station directly ahead of them, something new to Kum & Go.
“We had food to the side for years and people weren’t making the connection,” Mark Hastings, chief operating officer, told Convenience Store News. “Now, it’s as soon as they walk in the door.”
And that isn’t the only new addition to Kum & Go's offer. The Johnston site is the chain's first to have indoor seating — complete with a five-seat community table similar to Starbucks — to create a social environment, according to Hastings. The new prototype also introduces a growler station, which will be serviced during peak hours and sell local, domestic and craft beers. A recently passed Iowa law permits retailers to sell take-home beer in growlers.
Other unique features of the Marketplace design are:
- Complimentary Wi-Fi and charging stations;
- Music playing throughout the store;
- An expansive beer cave;
- Touchless restrooms;
- E15, E85 and unleaded fuel options;
- A toppings bar of condiments;
- A toppings bar for coffee and other hot beverages, designed with millennials in mind;
- LED lighting both in-store and at all fueling stations;
- Upscale bakery offerings, including fresh bread baked daily on the premises; and
- 42-inch menu boards displaying real pictures of Kum & Go's food, not generic images.
Differentiating itself from the “typical” convenience store, Kum & Go’s Marketplace prototype is warm, inviting and upscale. Company executives say the design borders on the look and feel of a contemporary hotel.
Where '&' Means More
The next-generation store design is a physical representation of the West Des Moines, Iowa-based company’s core values.
Playing off the retailer's slogan, the ampersand symbol is both strategically used and whimsically displayed throughout the Marketplace concept to emphasize that at Kum & Go, you always get more.
The ampersand plays such an integral part in the company’s branding that Kum & Go unveiled a piece of artwork specifically commissioned for the Johnston prototype store. An 8-foot tall by 7-foot wide ampersand sits on the north side of the building as a tribute to Kum & Go’s slogan of “Where '&' Means More.” Designed and produced by Des Moines art studio Sticks, the artwork honors the community of Johnston with key words and images that reflect the area’s attractions and slogans on one side, while the other side showcases Kum & Go’s core values and culture.
Developed over the course of two years, the Marketplace prototype is a “labor of love,” Hastings told CSNews, and was conceptualized to “create a much more exciting [customer] experience.”
The chain sees much opportunity ahead for the new concept. In fact, Kum & Go this year plans to open 28 locations featuring the Marketplace design in Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Missouri and Arkansas.