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SAN ANTONIO — CST Brands Inc., operator of more than 1,000 convenience stores in the United States, hopes to debut the first “Corner Store of the Future” sometime next year.
CST Brands Chairman, President and CEO Kim Lubel told CSNews Online the company is currently working on what the next generation of Corner Stores will look like.
“From top to bottom, everything is under review,” said Lubel, who hopes to debut the first store of the future in 2016.
Corner Store is CST’s predominant store banner in the U.S. The current model for new-to-industry Corner Stores dates back to 2006. These stores, which range from 4,650 square feet to 5,500 square feet, are modern-looking, appealing to the eye and spotlight the “Always Fresh Choices” theme.
CST, which also operates more than 800 smaller legacy stores, plans to add 35 to 40 new-to-industry stores in the U.S. this year. Across North America, CST expects to open between 45 and 52 new-to-industry stores in 2015, representing an accelerated expansion from the 60 new stores opened the previous two years and the total of 42 stores opened during the five years prior to that.
Included in the 2015 plans are five new-to-industry Corner Stores slated to open in Texas that will feature made-to-order offerings similar to Nice N Easy’s signature Easy Street Eatery concept. CST acquired the 73-store Canastota, N.Y.-based Nice N Easy chain last year. The new Texas stores will mark Corner Store’s first foray into proprietary made-to-order foodservice.
Meanwhile, the store of the future is still in its early planning stages. “We’re just starting the journey,” noted Tony Bartys, CST’s senior operations vice president and chief operating officer.
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Hal Adams explained that the store of the future is intended to serve as a prototype for the next 10 years.
Along with the Corner Store of the Future initiative, CST is wrapping up a yearlong study of the Corner Store brand centered on creating a new value proposition for what the company wants the brand to stand for.
"What's the personality that Corner Store is going to have in the future?" asked Adams. "What do we want customers to think of us, and how do we want to behave?"
For more on CST Brands' ongoing transformation and a look at the people working behind the scenes to make it happen, check out the August issue cover story of Convenience Store News.