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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 welcomed customers back to its reopened store on SE H.K. Dodgen Loop in Temple, Texas. This latest opening represents the 22nd, 5,500-square-foot prototype location CEFCO has opened over the past several years, and the first in 2016.
The newly remodeled CEFCO convenience store reflects the retailer's latest design and offers customers a great shopping experience. The store incorporates a number of innovative enhancements, made possible by an open, fresh design with modern treatments and upgraded finishes.
The store offers hot and cold "Fresh Eats" grab-and-go offerings; the retailer's traditional "Fresh Joe" coffee and other beverage offerings; and CEFCO's fifth "Fresh Yo" frozen yogurt concept.
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc.
A new Love's Travel Stop opened its doors for business in Texhoma, Okla., on Jan. 14. This travel stop is located in the Oklahoma Panhandle and offers gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, name-brand electronics, and Subway and Chester's restaurants. The 24/7 travel stop also features two showers, 35 truck parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and CAT scales.
One week later, Love's opened another new location in Valley, Neb. This site features five showers, 67 truck parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and CAT scales. Customers can enjoy gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items and a Subway restaurant.
This month, Love's has kept the growth going by opening a new Love's Country Store in Garden City, Kan., on Feb. 4. It marks the first new country store of 2016. The company plans to open two more country stores by the end of this year. The 24-hour, 5,000-square-foot store features eight fuel pumps, gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, a Subway restaurant, and two roller grills offering hot dogs, tamales and more.
In other news, Love's opened its seventh fast-fill compressed natural gas (CNG) location along Interstate 40. The fueling option is now available at the existing Love's Travel Stop in Williams, Ariz.
Love's operates 10 additional fast-fill CNG locations on other major interstates, combining for a total of 17 fast-fill CNG locations. Fast-fill CNG will next become available at Love's existing travel stop in Guthrie, Okla., along I-35 this spring.
TravelCenters of America LLC expanded its Minit Mart network with a new location, Minit Mart Wheeler Ridge, on Interstate 5 in Arvin, Calif.
This 4,500-square-foot convenience store offers Shell-branded gasoline at 20 fueling lanes. In-store offerings include beverages; snacks; personal pizzas; O'Deli's biscuits, subs and sandwiches; and fresh grab-and-go items. The store also features Minit Mart's private-label World Blends Coffee program.
Parker's Convenience Stores
Parker's opened its 44th convenience store and fifth Parker's location in Statesboro, Ga. The new store sells the chain's traditional offerings including Parker's gas, the company's signature Chewy Ice, fountain drinks, fresh-brewed tea and lemonade, gourmet coffee, 28-degree beer, vape products, and cell phone accessories. Outside, there are 12 fueling positions, pumping gasoline as well as diesel.
Pilot Flying J Inc.
The month of January was busy for Pilot Flying J as the chain opened three new locations to start the year.
Early in the month, Pilot Flying J opened the doors of a Flying J Travel Plaza in Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada. The new Flying J Travel Plaza's amenities include eight fueling positions and five diesel lanes with high-speed pumps; fresh food offerings; and premium coffee and cappuccino selections. The facility at 5329 Govenlock Mountain Road is Pilot Flying J's 26th location in Canada.
The travel center operator then welcomed customers to a new Pilot Travel Center in Marion, N.C., on Jan. 18. The location's amenities include 10 gasoline fueling positions and seven diesel lanes with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling; a Subway restaurant; casual food offerings such as sandwiches, fresh salads and hot dogs; and premium coffee and cappuccino selections.
Lastly, Pilot Flying J officially opened the Pilot Travel Center in Schulenburg, Texas, on Jan. 19. This location's amenities include 20 fueling positions and eight diesel lanes with high-speed pumps; expanded RV amenities, including three RV lanes and a sanitary dump station; PJ Fresh fast-casual food offerings; and premium coffee and cappuccino selections.
The Schulenburg facilty also features Taco Bell, Cinnabon and Auntie Anne's Pretzels. Of the more than 650 Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J Travel Plazas across North America, this is the first to house an Auntie Anne's Pretzels.
Rutter's Farm Stores
Rutter's kicked off the new year with the opening of its 62nd location. The new Rutter's convenience store in Leola, Pa., held a grand opening Jan. 29.
The store features revamped exterior branding and boasts a larger footprint at 7,500 square feet. There are 16 pumps for gas and auto diesel, and a separate dedicated island with three high-speed truck diesel fueling pumps.
A unique component of the Leola location is eight spaces dedicated for horse and buggy parking. It is the second Rutter's store to offer this feature.
Inside the store, there is a 35-person seating area with free Wi-Fi. The coolers showcase premium Rutter's milk from locally sourced dairies, and more than 10 different Rutter's tea options. Foodservice offerings include first-cut pastrami, BBQ short ribs, and other fresh food options like fruit, salads and wraps. The Leola c-store offers a gourmet coffee bar, too, featuring espressos, lattes and fruit smoothies.
"Looking into the New Year, Rutter's wants to continue to expand our business to additional communities. Developing Rutter's brand in new areas allows for even more customers to experience our signature offerings and creates strong economic growth. We are excited to meet the needs of consumers in Lancaster County, and tailoring our offerings to meet the needs of local customers is a standard we strive to uphold," said Derek Gaskins, Rutter's chief customer officer.
Weigel's Convenience Stores
Weigel's cut the ribbon on its newest convenience store in Clinton, Tenn., on Jan. 20. The location is the retailer's 63rd c-store overall.
Situated off Interstate 75, the site features four wide diesel fuel bays — a first for Weigel's. Long drive-thrus on entrance and exit make access easy for professional drivers or customers traveling with RVs and travel trailers, the chain noted. In addition, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is available at the pump, and this location is fully equipped with Comdata for convenient and quick payment solutions.
In-store, customers can order made-to-order food items at Weigel's Kitchens, a dedicated quick-foodservice kiosk. Weigel's Kitchens also makes barista-made specialty espresso drinks.