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Thorntons Embarks on Chainwide Store Overhaul

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thorntons Inc. is seeing positive results from its in-progress, chainwide renovation, according to a Louisville Business First report. Seven stores in its hometown market of Louisville have already been remodeled, while renovations are still ongoing at four other locations.

Food sales are up by more than 50 percent at the remodeled stores, according to Thorntons' President Tony Harris. Previously, the stores sold an average of 220 food items a day, but this has since increased to 850 to 1,000 items per day. Breakfast is the most successful daypart.

Thorntons plans to spend approximately $700,000 to overhaul each of its 178 stores in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida and Illinois over the next five years in order to "transform our business into a food and beverage destination," Harris said.

The renovations are meant to shift focus away from the gas pump and toward the store itself, according to the executive. A major change is the addition of a kitchen in the middle of the store, where employees prepare fresh sandwiches for breakfast and lunch.

It takes four to six weeks to remodel a store, which remains open for all but two of those weeks. "We try to do as much as we can without disrupting business," Harris said.

Twelve to 15 new Thorntons stores boasting the chain's new look will open next year in Chicago, Nashville, Tenn., and Tampa, Fla., but they will not operate the fresh grill until existing stores in those markets are remodeled, due to supply chain agreements, the news outlet reported.

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