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    CSNews Takes Glimpse Into the Crystal Ball

    What will the "convenience store" of the future look like?

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News

    JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- What will the "convenience store" look like a decade or more from now?

    In November, Convenience Store News will present a special edition of the magazine centered on that very question. The c-store industry's leading media brand is partnering with some of the top thought leaders and design firms in the nation to give readers a peek at how the convenience store will evolve over the next several years and how it will serve a changing customer base.

    Just like today where we see many different types of c-store models in action, the future will be composed of different types of c-stores, each focused on different aspects of the convenience experience and on different customer archetypes.

    C-stores of the future will likely incorporate aspects of all four of these basic types:

    • The Convenience Restaurant -- Westport, Conn.-based retail branding and design firm King-Casey provides a “blueprint” for what The Convenience Restaurant might look like. This store can be viewed as the future evolution of retailers that want to be like Sheetz and Wawa, and compete with the quick-service and fast-casual restaurants.
    • The Refueling & Refreshing Center -- King Retail Solutions, a design firm based in Eugene, Ore., shows the possible evolutionary development of c-store retailers that want to target on-the-go, mobile consumers, Millennials, blue-collar workers and multicultural consumers. The Refueling & Refreshing Center might be a cross between a Chevron ExtraMile store and a Pilot travel center.
    • The Neighborhood Market -- Tampa, Fla.-based retail design firm api(+) examines the future of retailers that seek to serve both the everyday and fill-in shopping needs of a new generation of customers. The Neighborhood Market would probably have a family orientation; possibly be located in more urban locations; and might be a hybrid of a small grocery/gourmet food store -- somewhere between a Walmart To Go, a Giant Eagle Express and a Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppe.
    • The Forecourt of the Future -- Innovative Fort Worth, Texas-based design firm Paragon Solutions looks at the future evolution of retailers that operate travel plazas and other high-traffic locations. These retailers would likely be leaders in incorporating the latest new fuels and technology, such as various blends of ethanol, natural gas, hydrogen fuel, electric vehicle chargers, at-the-pump marketing and/or food-ordering technology, forecourt infotainment, etc.

    Check out CSNews.com all this week for sneak peeks of each Store of the Future prototype.

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    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News
    • About Don Longo Don Longo is editorial director of EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News, Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner and Hispanic Retail 360 media brands. He has covered retailing for more than 30 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. Previously, he spearheaded the editorial efforts at a variety of business publications focused on mass, drug, grocery and specialty store retailing. Convenience Store News won American Business Media’s Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Issue of the Year in 2008 and 2012. Longo has won numerous other editorial awards over his career and is frequently quoted in the national and local news media on the subjects of retailing and consumer trends.

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