NATIONAL REPORT — After what industry experts called a busy 2021, defined by a flurry of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) among the convenience store channel's larger players, 2022 was seemingly quiet for these retailers. But the same couldn't be said for the industry's small operators.
M&A activity in the small operator community saw these retailers picking up local, regional players and adding to their store counts. Small operators also expanded their footprint through organic growth.
Additionally, throughout the year, small operators brought innovation to the channel in a number of ways.
These are the top 10 Small Operator stories that made headlines in 2022:
1. Neon Marketplace Aims to Be a Trendsetter Neon Marketplace is a new prototype that aims to dynamically change the perception of convenience stores by delivering premium food in a technology-driven atmosphere.
2. PHOTO GALLERY: Street Corner Evolves to Keep Pace Ever evolving, the multiformat, franchisee-owned chain of 32 years — which is now in 19 U.S. states and one new international location (Panama City) — is most recently distinguishing itself with an urban market format that features a contemporary store design, advanced technology, and unique and fresh foodservice.
4. Nation's First 100% Plant-Based Convenience Store Opens in California Hangry Planet is the channel's first 100-percent plant-based, cruelty-free convenience store. The retail outlet offers carefully curated snacks, meals, certified organic desserts and more that are sourced and vetted to assure that every product in the store is sustainable, animal product-free and cruelty-free.
6. Yatco Meets the Challenge of Launching Its First Mobile App In a Convenience Store News webinar, "Why C-Stores Need to Master Mobile Apps and How Yatco Meets the Challenge," Yatco vice president Hussein Yatim highlighted the retailer's mobile app journey — one that delivered a mobile-driven experience for its c-store customers that helped drive brand value and led to a lift in incremental sales.
7. Dino Stop Convenience Stores Exits the Industry Dino Stop Convenience Stores left the industry after serving the Green Bay, Wis., area for more than half a century. The six-store chain was up by 7E CO Holdings LLC, a Denver-based chain of 60 convenience stores with locations in Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
8. PHOTO GALLERY: Eskimo Hut Revamps Original Daiquiris To-Go Store The past year saw Eskimo Hut hit a milestone as the Houston-based retailer revamped its original Daiquiris To-Go store, just outside of Amarillo, Texas, into a brand-new concept called The Station by Eskimo Hut, the company's first full-service convenience store open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with branded fuel and a quick-service TexMex restaurant.
9. Foxtrot Keys In on Prepared Food as It Charts Expansion Course Foxtrot's ambitious expansion path includes the planned opening of 50 stores within the next two years. The company is expected to open in the retailer's hometown of Chicago as well as newer markets in the Washington, D.C., area and parts of Texas and Massachusetts.