What's In Store: Big Red Stores, FriendShip Stores & Stewart's Shops

Melissa Kress
Senior News Editor
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Dean Beck, senior vice president business development and co-owner, and Chelsea Carvalho, retail operations, celebrate the grand re-opening of a Friendship Kitchen in Wakeman, Ohio.
Dean Beck, senior vice president business development and co-owner, and Chelsea Carvalho, retail operations, celebrate the grand re-opening of a Friendship Kitchen in Wakeman, Ohio.

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.

Big Red Stores

Big Red Stores officially welcomed customers at its 40th store in Central Arkansas on June 13. The 24-hour c-store is in Bryant, Ark. This store's amenities include f'real milkshakes, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, hot Community Coffee and fresh deli items. The retailer also added non-ethanol premium gasoline to the forecourt.

FriendShip Stores

FriendShip Stores marked the grand re-opening of the second FriendShip store to be remodeled to FriendShip Kitchen. The remodeled store in Wakeman, Ohio, now offers the FriendShip Kitchen proprietary food and beverage program and is one of 26 FriendShip stores the company operates along the shores of Lake Erie, from Toledo to Cleveland.

The convenience store also features an upgraded FriendShip Fuel offer, and continues to offer the retailer's loyalty program. 

"There really is something for everyone — from oven baked breakfast pizza, stuffed burritos and egg sandwiches for breakfast, paired with coffee made from premium roasted beans. Our lunch and dinner choices range from salads to sandwiches, savory crust pizza and FriendShip's signature hand-breaded chicken," said Ed Burcher, vice president of foodservice.


RaceTrac opened a new convenience store in Grapevine, Texas, on July 30. The store boasts a Swirl World frozen desert station, a large coffee area with counter space, free Wi-Fi, and additional lighting, parking and seating areas.

Stewart's Shops

Stewart's Shops opened a new convenience store in Oswego, N.Y. Located just blocks from Lake Ontario, the store features a wider variety of food and beverage options, including freshly made pizza by the pie or the slice. It also boasts seating, extensive parking and fuel service with non- ethanol gas and diesel.

The retailer is also remodeling its store in East Malone, N.Y., in Franklin County, located 30 miles form the Canadian border. The exterior will remain mostly the same, with the majority of the work taking place inside the store and underground, according to Stewart's Shops.

When the work is completed, the newly remodeled store will offer better foodservice and a new beer cave. All the big changes were made possible by a small 8-foot addition. The backroom storage will now be located on the side of the shop, allowing the interior floor plan to expand.

Stewart's Shops is building 20 shops across its market areas in 2019, which will replace older, smaller locations. It will also complete a number of remodels and additions.

TravelCenters of America Inc.

TravelCenters of America opened a Charleys Philly Steaks & Wings location at the TA-branded travel center located at I-24 South, Exit 48 in Nashville, Tenn. The restaurant's dining room can seat 66 people and is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Nashville Charleys is the first in Tennessee and fourth overall operated by TravelCenters.


Weigel's unlocked the doors on a new convenience store in Kingsport, Tenn. It is the company's 68th store overall.

"We've had many requests to expand to the Kingsport market so we are excited to now offer our newest store design and fresh food offerings in this community," said CEO Ken McMullen. "We have eight gas pumps with easy access, so our customers can get in and out and be on their way quickly. We have designed this store to serve our customers in Kingsport the best in every way possible."

Inside the store, guests can order made-to-order food items for all dayparts at the new Weigel's Kitchen, or through a dedicated foodservice kiosk. The Weigel's Kitchen also offers soft-serve ice cream and shakes.

The store receives fresh Weigel's milk from Weigel's dairy in Powell, Tenn.

The Kingsport Weigel's also offers fresh baked goods from Weigel's bakery in Knoxville, Tenn. and no-fee ATMs.