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    Noco Express Builds Stores Within Stores

    McDonald's, Tim Hortons among partnering chains.

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tonawanda, N.Y.-based Noco Express Shops, operator of approximately 40 gasoline/convenience stores throughout western New York and Rochester, is partnering with Tim Hortons, McDonald's, Charlie the Butcher and others to provide more convenience and choices to its customers, reported the Buffalo (N.Y.) News.

    The first of the new convenience stores will debut in mid-September in Cheektowaga, N.Y. Noco will demolish the existing store and build one twice the size with coffee and baked-goods chain Tim Hortons inside, plus a drive-through window.

    Noco is planning to remodel later this year its stores in the villages of Orchard Park, N.Y., and East Aurora, N.Y., to include a Charlie the Butcher shop. Noco also is planning to demolish its store at Amherst, N.Y., and rebuild with a McDonald's inside the store. Finally, Noco plans to incorporate a Quiznos Subs into its store in Cheektowaga. Noco Energy Corp., which owns Noco Express Shops, is the master franchisee for Quiznos Subs in Western N.Y.

    With an all-glass front and lofty ceilings reaching 18 feet in some places, the new Noco stores are designed to be more attractive and welcoming -- especially to women.

    "It's all about the changing dynamics of the convenience store business," said Michael F. Newman, executive vice president. "We need to utilize real estate to the highest and best use."

    At 4,000 square feet, the new Noco stores are 30 percent larger than the average new convenience store, according to the CSNews 2004 Industry Report. However, most of the new stores are like Noco, emphasizing food over gasoline.

    Noco is even decreasing the height of its shelves so customers can see the entire store when they walk in the door, and the number of products, sizes and flavors available will double. Noco expects to rebuild or remodel about four stores per year, Newman said.

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