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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.
CEFCO Convenience Stores
CEFCO opened a new store in Belton, Texas, with an attached Which Wich quick-serve restaurant — the retailer's second Which Wich location. This latest rebuild represents the 21st 5,500-square-foot prototype location that CEFCO has opened over the past several years, and it was the sixth prototype opened in 2015.
"We are excited to open this location in central Texas," said Brett Giesick, chief retail officer for CEFCO. "This beautiful addition offers our latest hot and cold 'Fresh Eats' grab-and-go offerings, as well as our traditional 'Fresh Joe' coffee and other beverage offerings. This also marks our fourth 'Fresh Yo' frozen yogurt concept location."
Eskimo Hut, a chain of drive-thru convenience stores specializing in frozen daiquiris and margaritas to-go, opened a new location in Southwest Lubbock, Texas. This is the second Eskimo Hut location in the city. Both are owned by franchisee Brad Salley.
The new store includes the famous frozen daiquiris and margaritas to-go that Eskimo Hut is known for. It also features a walk-in beer cooler stocked with a variety of domestic, import and craft beers; wine on tap that is sold by the glass; and beer on tap from the rotating draught selection of 16 craft beers.
Lone Star Food Stores
Texas retailer Lone Star Food Stores cut the ribbon on a new convenience store and Valero gas station in Denison, Texas, in early December. The store, which sits on the site of a former Circle K location, features a taco-themed restaurant.
Lone Star Food Stores is a Douglass Distributing company.
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores
A Love's Travel Stop opened for business in Union City, Okla., on Dec. 17. It marked Love's 27th travel stop opening of 2015.
The new travel stop offers gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, name-brand electronics, a Subway restaurant and more. The 24/7 facility features two showers, 33 parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and CAT scales.
"It has been another exciting year for Love's and we wrap it up with a great store in Union City with a Subway restaurant," said Greg Love, co-CEO of Love's. "As our network of Oklahoma locations continues to grow, it gives us more opportunities to serve our loyal customers."
NOCO Express completed the renovation of its Delaware Avenue store in Kenmore, N.Y. The three-week interior and exterior remodel brings an updated look and expanded fresh product selection.
"While our customers are always looking for easy food options to grab on the go, we are seeing an increased demand for more fresh and healthy on-the-go products," said Jim DeFilippis, vice president and general manager of NOCO Express. "This remodel provides our customers with even more fresh items such as sandwiches and salads, and the introduction of more beverages to choose from."
When entering the newly remodeled store, customers will notice better visibility of products displayed throughout the store with the addition of new shelving and a deli case for fresh foods. Freshly prepared and prepackaged sandwiches, salads, wraps and snack packs from Nickel City Foods are available throughout the day, offering customers options for fresh, grab-and-go meals and snacks.
In addition, new wall graphics installed throughout the store provide an overall updated look. Outside, the gasoline canopy and exterior of the store also received a refresh.
Ricker Oil Co.
Two new Indiana Ricker's convenience stores opened to close out December, making them the fourth and fifth Ricker's flagship stores to open in 2015. The stores are in Sheridan and Westfield.
Both locations feature Ricker's own brand of made-to-order menu options such as burritos, pizza and salads. They also offer 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. Additionally, there is a selection of wine priced lower than most liquor stores.
At the forecourt, Ricker's provides Lucas Oil additives in its premium and diesel fuels. It also has tax-exempt diesel islands for trucks to refuel. The stores provide ethanol-free premium with Lucas Oil fuel treatment, too.
Thorntons welcomed customers its newest store in Springdale, Ohio, last month. This convenience store is the latest in a series of stores that are focused on Thorntons not only being a place to fuel up, but also a food and beverage destination.
The Springdale store offers "hot-off-the-grill" convenience food items; an assortment of hot, cold and frozen beverages; and quality food and grocery items at economical prices, according to the retailer.
Turkey Hill Minit Markets
The latest Turkey Hill Minit Markets store in the Columbus, Ohio area opened for business in New Albany on Dec. 17.
Turkey Hill's most up-to-date features were integrated into the newly constructed 4,800-square-foot store. This includes grocery offerings, a car wash, beer cave with a wide selection of beer, and a deli serving an extensive variety of Built Your Way sandwiches, pizza and other menu items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anytime snacks.
With 24-hour, seven-day service, the New Albany store provides 10 gasoline dispensers with 20 pumps. Customers can save on fuel with the Kroger Plus program, offering a variety of ways to accumulate points quickly, plus "Buy More, Save More" opportunities on selected items.