RICHMOND — Over the past decade, GPM Investments LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arko Corp., has been focused on acquiring regional brands to gain scale in the convenience store marketplace. After achieving sizable growth via multiple acquisitions in the last 10 years, the company made a strategic decision to embark on a remodel initiative, armed with a new, bold convenience store prototype that puts its forward-thinking practices in front of the consumer.
As part of the extensive remodel program, GPM recently began welcoming customers to the first of 10 new concept stores planned for 2021: a fas mart store located in Collinsville, Va.
“We have been working on this prototype over the last year and are very excited about the extensive remodel program and the benefits it will bring to our existing customers, as well as new customers who will be drawn in by the fresh, new look. Our remodeled stores will feature an expanded offering with grab-and-go prepared food, beer caves, frozen food, an enhanced drink lineup, and much more," said Arie Kotler, CEO of GPM and Arko Holdings Ltd.
"Over the past few months, we have had the opportunity to take learnings from our customers' shopping behaviors, as well as the changing consumer environment, and implement key updates to our remodel program and in-store offering to provide an enhanced customer experience emphasizing the local regional brand," Kotler continued.
Bold, New Offers
Designed to cater to a broad customer base, the goal of the new store prototype is to improve the overall customer experience and ultimately drive more trips and higher baskets, Michael Bloom, executive vice president and chief marketing and merchandising officer at GPM, told Convenience Store News.
“The remodeled store features a fresh look from the inside out, including an easy-to-navigate format and expanded food and beverage offerings," he noted.
The remodel initiative will be spread across all of GPM’s convenience store brands, including fas mart, E-Z Mart and Scotchman. The program focuses on enhancing the overall customer experience through design, assortment, navigation and layout.
Prior to its transformation, the Collinsville fas mart had been closed for more than a year due to a fire in 2019, leading GPM to deem it the perfect location to debut its new look.
The store is significantly smaller than the average convenience store in GPM’s portfolio, but despite its lesser stature, the remodeled location is now big in aesthetics and offers. Among the new elements featured at the Collinsville site are a beer cave, freezers for frozen food, grab-and-go premade sandwiches, expanded roller grills, a bakery, expanded cold beverage doors, and bean-to-cup coffee.
GPM plans to use its new prototype design for remodels and raze-and-rebuild stores. The company anticipates investing approximately $360 million over the next three to five years to unify its stores in design, while maintaining the local well-known banners in each area. The initiative will encompass roughly 360 of GPM’s 1,400 company-operated locations across the country.
The Richmond, Va.-based retailer — the fifth largest convenience store operator in the United States — intends to continue “fine-tuning” the prototype design throughout the initial rollout of remodeled stores this year, according to Bloom.
Over the next three to five years, Arko/GPM expects that the remodel program will generate approximately $72 million in incremental EBITDA.