The New Village Pantry

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The New Village Pantry

By Mehgan Belanger.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Village Pantry convenience chain, an affiliate of Florida-based Sun Capital Partners and headquartered here, disclosed details of its growth strategy to CSNews Online, which includes a $15 million remodeling plan for its 146-unit chain, along with purchases that could double the chain's size by three years, as recently reported in the Indianapolis Business Journal.

"We are going away from the old green, orange and beige colors to a bold maroon, silver and pearl white color scheme," Mick Parker, CEO of Village Pantry told CSNews Online, adding that exterior improvements will be made to landscaping and parking lots. "Our goal is when a customer drives by, it creates such a dramatic difference on the outside they stop just to see what has happened and then 'wow' them with our inside offering."

The 'wow' will come from increased variety in many categories -- including foodservice, tobacco and dispensed beverages. "We will offer customer true selection. For instance, they can get their coffee in foam or paper cups, or any kind of condiment they can imagine -- including whipped cream for their hot chocolate," Parker said. "All stores will have a re-work of the beverage area with new graphics, expanded fountain flavors, crushed or cubed ice, foam or plastic cups, sweet or unsweetened tea, expanded ICEE machines, and some stores will have milk shake machines and other frozen carbonated beverage offers."

In addition, all stores will feature expanded cigarette back bars, with a goal of having 14 to 16 feet of tobacco products in the stores, he said.

Customers purchasing items will also benefit from the remodel. "All stores will have a new or retro fitted sales counter with more customer friendly queuing, more product availability and overall better merchandising and organization," Parker said.

The difference between the old and new stores is "night and day," he explained. "All I can really say is there is nothing the same except the things we excelled at -- doughnuts, morning breakfast items, such as breakfast sandwiches made on-site and fresh-made deli sandwiches. Think 1980s convenience store compared to what I would argue is best in class."

The new Village Pantry can be considered a result of experience and teamwork. "I've got 28 years experience in the industry," Parker told CSNews Online. "I have spent countless hours and days looking at 'best practices' from all kinds of retailer's, convenience stores and others. I have been very fortunate to work with some really bright merchants over the years who really know what the c-store customer wants. Put it all together and you get the new Village Pantry."