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    CSNews Exclusive: Handee Marts Grows in Pittsburgh

    New store opens with a focus on grab and go foods.

    By Mehgan Belanger

    PITTSBURGH -- Gibsonia, Pa.-based Handee Marts Inc., the second-oldest 7-Eleven licensee in the nation, expanded its market share in downtown Pittsburgh recently when it opened its latest store -- marking the chain's sixth in the area and 62nd overall.

    "Competition among convenience operators is limited to independents, and major competition would be CVS," in the downtown Pittsburgh market, said Mike Triantafellou, president and CEO of Handee Marts, in an exclusive interview with CSNews Online, adding the addition of its sixth store makes the company a leading retailer in the area.

    The new franchised convenience store does not offer fuel and measures approximately 2,400 square feet. It offers limited SKUs focusing on grab-and-go items as well as snacks. There is also limited vendor competition in the store -- for example, in the salty snack segment, it only offers Frito-Lay items and 7-Eleven's private label 7-Select line for value. A multi-vendor endcap is home to the confectionery section, as opposed to a regular store's 14- to 16-foot set, Triantafellou said.

    The store is also home to some firsts for the chain, such as a center-of-store refrigerated open-air case, a high-end canned lighting package and LED cooler lighting, he noted.

    Other Handee Mart stores in the Pittsburgh market include a location in the Doubletree Hotel near Mellon Arena, a campus location at the University of Pittsburgh and three conventional stores. None of the chain's downtown locations offer fuel.

    Overall, Handee Marts operates or franchises 62 convenience stores in West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio and select counties in Maryland, 44 of which sell fuel under the CITGO, Gulf, BP, Exxon or Valero flags.

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