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.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
Dash In Food Stores Inc.
Dash In Food Stores Inc. marked the opening of its Urbana, Md., location on Aug. 8.
The 3,200-square-foot Dash In store offers a chef-driven menu of sandwiches along with healthy snacks and drinks, Shell Nitrogen-enriched fuel, and a Splash In Eco Car Wash with a five-brush-soft-touch system and Simoniz-brand chemistry.
The inside boasts rich wood fixtures, granite countertops and wood grain floor tiles. A filmstrip of historical images stretches across the walls, and pays homage to the charm and beauty of Maryland.
Throughout the store, Dash In has included self-serve kiosks and digital monitors that highlight the day's menu options and monthly promotions.
Kum & Go LC
Kum & Go welcomed customers to its new 5,000-square-foot convenience store in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept 17.
The store is designed to provide fast and friendly service for customers, offering a wide array of freshly made-to-order pizzas, baked goods and breakfast and deli sandwiches — all prepared daily in Kum & Go's on-site kitchen.
The forecourt features several fuel options, including diesel, E85 and E15, which are only available in approximately 120 locations nationwide. During the next two years, Kum & Go plans to make E15 available at more than 65 stores across Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
New Kum & Go stores are designed, constructed and submitted for LEED certification. The retailer now has more than 100 LEED Certified stores.
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores
Love's Travel Stops reopened its doors for business on Aug. 8 in Van Horn, Texas. The travel stop along Interstate 10 underwent a three-month raze-and-rebuild process.
The new store is 3,000-square-feet bigger and has more showers. Customers can also enjoy gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, name-brand electronics and a larger Subway restaurant.
The 24/7 travel stop features four showers, 35 parking spaces and RFID cardless fueling. A new Love's Truck Tire Care center will open at a later date.
"The reopening of this store is an example of our goal to keep our nationwide store network new and fresh," said Greg Love, co-CEO of Love's. "We're committed to building new locations and improving current facilities. The brand-new store in Van Horn provides customers with all new amenities and we're excited to reopen for our customers and team members."
Love's also opened its second location along Interstate 27 in Lubbock, Texas, on Sept. 3. The new store features Chester's and Subway restaurants, a game room, gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, name-brand electronics and more.
The 24/7 travel stop has seven showers, 70 parking spaces, a Love's Truck Tire Care center, RFID cardless fueling, CAT scales and other driver services.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) welcomed motorists to its renovated Valley Forge Service Plaza on Aug. 8. The reopening also marked the completion of the last of 17 turnpike rest stops to be modernized under a public-private partnership begun nearly a decade ago.
The plaza overhauls were made possible by a 30-year, public-private redevelopment initiative launched in 2006 when the turnpike signed agreements with Bethesda, Md.-based HMSHost Corp. and Sunoco Inc. of Philadelphia. Under the contracts, HMSHost Corp. committed $100 million to rebuild 17 plazas, and Sunoco invested $70 million to redevelop the service stations and convenience stores.
"This public-private partnership has not only benefited our customers by providing updated, expanded facilities with broader food and beverage options, it also has allowed us to concentrate on our core mission: making a smoother, safer turnpike for our travelers," said PTC Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey.
QuickChek Corp. opened a new 5,700-square-foot store in Mount Arlington, N.J., on Aug. 10, less than one mile from the company's current location in the borough. The existing store closed when the new store opened.
"We have enjoyed a long history serving the Mount Arlington community and we look forward to continuing to serve this market with our newest products and services," said QuickChek CEO Dean Durling, whose family-owned company opened its first store in the borough in 1976.
The new store, located just off Interstate 80, will be open 24 hours a day and will feature a Q Café with nearly 40 varieties of hot and iced cold coffees, iced caramel macchiato, fresh brewed cappuccinos, lattes and espressos, blended-to-order fruit smoothies and decadent frozen treats.
The store also has no-fee ATMs, indoor seating for 13 people and outdoor seating for eight, five fueling stations and 46 parking spaces.
Ricker Oil Co.
The newest Ricker's convenience store opened its doors on Sept. 8. This location is one of five flagship stores the convenience store chain plans to open this year in central Indiana.
"This store follows the new flagship design of the Ricker's brand," said President and CEO Quinn Ricker. "Quality food and drink offerings in convenience stores are the future of our industry."
In addition to its sleek design, the store features fresh "bean to cup" gourmet coffee, cappuccino, iced coffee and frappés along with several different flavor syrups and creamers. All machines employ reverse-osmosis water filtration. There is also a selection of beer and wine priced lower than most liquor stores, according to the company.
This location is also home to Ricker's own brand of fast and fresh Mexican cuisine. Customers can place their customized orders through in-store kiosks.
Stripes Convenience Stores
Stripes Convenience Stores welcomed customers at a new store in Snyder, Texas, on Aug. 11.
The location features a dining area that seats 20; "the beer super cooler," a designated cooler for beer/adult beverages set to cool below 32 degrees; "the wall," a creative space for customers to customize their cool with more than 1.2 billion possible fountain combinations; as well as 7,000-square-feet of customer conveniences.
The new Stripes store features Laredo Taco Co. and offers Sunoco fuel with 16 Sunoco-branded fuel dispenser options.
A grand opening celebration showcased the many food offerings available from Laredo Taco Co. The first 200 guests at the grand opening celebration received a free Stripes refillable mug with purchase.
Thorntons opened the kitchen at its newly remodeled store in Louisville, Ky.
In addition to traditional roller grill items, this store will feature hot breakfast, lunch and snack items that are prepared fresh on-site. Breakfast guests can choose from a variety of sandwiches or burritos. Lunch options include pizza, sandwiches, fresh fruit and a variety of salads. For in-between meals, guests can enjoy snacks like fresh soft pretzels or fresh baked cookies.
Other features of this store include a full bakery case and an ice cream bar.
This location is the latest to open in the series of stores that are focused on making Thorntons a food and beverage destination.