U-Stop Breaks Ground for New Grocery-Focused Concept

LINCOLN, Neb. — U-Stop Convenience Shops broke ground on its largest-ever convenience store in Hickman, Neb., reported the Lincoln Journal Star. The U-Stop Market store will have 8,500 square feet dedicated only to grocery and personal items, as well as a Godfather's Pizza location and multiple gas pumps.

The new U-Stop is expected to open in early January 2017. Another similar-sized store that lacks gas pumps is planned for Lincoln's Haymarket sometime later that year.

Hickman was chosen due to the fact that it is one of the fastest-growing communities in Nebraska, but has only one small grocery store, as well as the fact that the current U-Stop in Hickman is undersized, has only two fuel pumps and is "being kept together with duct tape and baling wire," said Mark Whitehead, president of U-Stop parent company Whitehead Oil.

The new store will still be a convenience store but should serve as "a good alternative" to driving into Lincoln to shop at a supermarket, Whitehead added. He hopes for the second U-Stop Market to open by the third quarter of 2017.

The two locations will be similar, but are intended to serve very different demographic groups. Consumers in Hickman are 10 to 15 miles from a supermarket and accustomed to driving that far, but those in the Haymarket are only one to two miles from a large grocery store yet don't want to travel that far, according to Whitehead.

Only two U-Stop Markets are currently planned, but the company is willing to look at individual markets for potential future locations.

"This is going to be a new learning curve for us, and we'll see how well we adapt to it," Whitehead said.

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