Most major C-store companies have announced plans to expand in number and territory. But what’s most noteworthy about this is where many of them have announced they intend to expand: beyond what is currently considered their “turf.”
Numerous chains have announced intentions to open new stores or raze and rebuild stores outside of their current traditional footprint. Consider recent announcements and press releases from companies such as Casey’s, Kum & Go, Royal Farms, Sheetz, Wawa and more.
Many of these C-stores have long operated with great success as regional strongholds, often becoming synonymous with the culture and character of a particular part of the country. In fact, expressions used to communicate the term “convenience store” frequently take on a regional flavor:
• Corner store
• Country store
• Food mart
• Mom-and-pop shop
• Party store
What’s driving the widespread expansion? In some cases, it is part of a gradual push into new markets. But several of the chains are pursuing an aggressive expansion to introduce their revered brands to new customers. As a part of that initiative, many of the local C-store “institutions” are spreading into new states and communities.
Non-fueling stores, high-quality food preparation, new store models and self-distribution are among the strategies aspiring C-store powerhouses are deploying to achieve their growth goals. But will they actually pay off? When other businesses have tried to capture market share already dominated by a beloved brand – think grocery stores, soda pop, chips, snacks, etc. — people have sometimes rejected the “invaders” to support their “local favorites.” It will be interesting to see how these tactics stand up to the will of loyal customers.