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What's In Store: AAFES, Haffner's & Royal Farms

Stewart's Shops, Thorntons and TravelCenters of America also welcomed customers at new locations.

NATIONAL REPORT — The convenience store industry landscape is constantly changing as chains open and close stores each week. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News highlights these comings and goings in this special roundup.

[Read more: What's In Store: ARKO Corp., Buc-ee's & CBH Co-op]

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AAFES Express location at Fort Irwin in California
Fort Irwin, Calif.

Army & Air Force Exchange Service 

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) celebrated the opening of a $15.7 million, 24-hour Mojave Express at Fort Irwin in California on May 29.

The ribbon-cutting was attended by Fort Irwin command personnel as well as AAFES leadership. Vendor partners, including Celsius, Frito-Lay Inc., The Hershey Co. and Monster Energy also joined the festivities, offering tastings, giveaways and entertainment to those at the new location.

The 14,000-square-foot convenience store includes a Hunt Brothers Pizza and Chopz quick-serve restaurant; a food truck plaza; and 20 gas pumps. Outdoor seating with cooling misters and propane service are also available.

The facility replaces two Express stores and a standalone Class Six and will employ nearly 70 people, more than half of whom are spouses or dependents of Fort Irwin service members. 

"We have all been waiting a long time for this facility," said Maj. Gen. Curtis Taylor, Fort Irwin commanding general. "The important message for everyone to remember is that the Exchange is here with us, and the Exchange goes where you go."

The organization anticipates the new location will improve many quality-of-life services at one of the army's most isolated installations in the United States, located in the Mojave Desert nearly 40 miles from the nearest highway and roughly halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Haffners location in Gilford New Hampshire
Gilford, N.H.


Family-owned Haffner's, the c-store brand of Energy North Group, celebrated the reopening of its newly rebuilt location in Gilford, N.H. 

Serving the Lakes Region, the facility was designed with the latest technology and customer comfort in mind, according to the company. The 24-hour store houses two iconic New England brands — Dunkin' Donuts and Anchor Deli — and offers fuel services, including nonethanol gasoline for "Lake Life," diesel and off-road diesel.

"The launch of this new facility is a testament to our commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction," said Jeff Black, Haffner's CEO. "We are proud to bring a location of this caliber to Gilford, enhancing the experience for our customers and supporting the local community."

[Read more: PHOTO GALLERY: A Look Inside Haffner's New Flagship Store]

The Gilford location officially opened its doors on May 23 and a future formal grand reopening event will be scheduled. 

Royal Farms

On June 24, Royal Farms will host the grand opening of its third location in Richmond, Va., at 2401 Mechanicsville Turnpike, just a seven-minute drive from Virginia Credit Union LIVE! at Richmond Raceway. 

The store will be open 24/7/365 and feature a gas station with 12 fueling positions, as well as an array of offerings, including Royal Farms' famous fried chicken, made-to-order sandwiches and all-day breakfast options.

Alongside its food offer, the Richmond store will include a selection of self-serve coffee blends, cold beverages, milkshakes, and a variety of snacks and convenience items. Additionally, first responders will get to enjoy a free cup of coffee every time they visit any Royal Farms location in uniform.

Attendees to the ticketed soft opening event will be served one free meal from the day's specialty menu. Royal Farms will also make a monetary donation to Blue Sky to help fund wilderness summer experiences for students at Grayson Highlands State Park. 

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Stewarts Shops location in Glemont New York
Glemont, N.Y.

Stewart's Shops

Stewart's Shops reopened a newly rebuilt store in Glenmont, N.Y., one of six located in the town of Bethlehem and one of 39 in Albany County.

Replacing the chain's small, brick shop, the expanded building now offers a beverage bar, including self-serve coffee, cold brew and hot chocolate; two open to-go cases of salads, meat and cheese snacks, hummus and crackers; a food bar; a beer cave; and two restrooms instead of one, as well as seasonal items for summer travel. 

[Read more: Stewart's Shops Brings Southern Flavor to Menu]

Outside amenities include nine picnic tables and a bike rack.

"We're incredibly proud of the new features we've added for the community," said Chad Kiesow, chief operating officer for Stewart's. "With expanded food options, more outdoor amenities and soon-to-be-available Tesla chargers, we're excited to offer an enhanced experience for everyone."

Located off Interstate 87, the Glenmont shop is part of Stewart's $50 million capital investment plan for 2024, which includes shop construction, renovations and the expansion of the company plant's commercial kitchen.


bp portfolio brand Thorntons opened its 94th store in Illinois, located at 739 North Lake Street in Mundelein. The chain now operates 74 stores in the Chicagoland area.

The 4,400-square-foot facility is set on 1.8 acres and features a number of amenities, including self-checkout; LED lighting for safety and energy efficiency; an onsite kitchen; freshly made burritos and sandwiches; bean to cup coffee and cold fountain beverages; and 24 auto fueling positions.

Thorntons celebrated the new store with a grand opening on May 31, complete with music, games and giveaways. Guests at the event also received a Thorntons gift card which they could immediately scan at the register to determine the value, with one customer winning a $1,000 gift. 

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Thorntons leadership presented Northern Illinois Food Bank with a $2,500 donation. 

TA Express location in Jonesboro Arkansa
Jonesboro, Ark.

TravelCenters of America

TravelCenters of America, a bp portfolio company, opened three new TA Express locations: two in Louisiana in St. Rose and Grambling, and one in Jonesboro, Ark. 

All three locations offer similar amenities, including hot and cold beverages; snacks and merchandise; diesel fueling positions with DEF; gasoline fueling positions; car and truck parking spaces; private showers; and laundry facilities

The St. Rose site at 10405 East Airline Highway St. and the franchise Grambling site at 1130 RWE Jones Road also include a deli and, in September, quick-service restaurant options: a KFC and a Jimmy John's, respectively. The TA Express Grambling also includes a dog park.

The Jonesboro store is a franchise location at 3021 Dr. MLK Jr. Drive and has a larger footprint with additional offerings, including a KFC, driver's lounge and a CAT scale. A dog park will be opening soon. 

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