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PORTLAND — In a new installment of his video series with Convenience Store News parent company, EnsembleIQ, Phil Lempert highlights a hipster-themed convenience store in Portland known as Mini Mini, whose owners believe "if it looks good, it feels better."
"The lighting in most convenience stores is really harsh; people get in and get out, and customers deserve a place that feels clean. Most convenience stores are gross," Mini Mini co-owner Jonathan Felix-Lund recently told Munchies, a new food channel from VICE.
Felix-Lund and co-owner Matt Brown came up with the idea four years ago while traveling together; stopping at gas stations "housed in iffy spaces that offered stale food and beverage selections" both depressed and inspired them, Lempert explained. The pair vowed to create a convenience store that was not only an enjoyable experience, but also an experience unto itself.
Mini Mini customers can purchase imported black water, which really is black, as well as local staples such as Salt & Straw ice cream and Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches. There’s also Lion Heart kombucha, Stumptown cold brew, and Double Mountain beer on tap. The pizza chain Sizzle Pie, which is an investor, sells a line of vegan (and non-vegan) "hot pockets" at the store.
Surprisingly, the owners say that a lot of their pricing is lower than area convenience stores like 7-Eleven or Plaid Pantry. "People think Mini Mini’s going to be expensive because it’s nice, but we will fill up your growler for $7 with local cider and beer. Nothing in this store is over 20 bucks."
For now, Mini Mini can only be found in Portland, but the owners’ plans are to expand within the city and tailor each store to meet the needs of its individual neighborhood.
As CSNews Online previously reported, Lempert and EnsembleIQ forged an exclusive strategic alliance that allows Lempert to provide content and programming to multiple CPG retail media brands within the EnsembleIQ portfolio, including Convenience Store News and Progressive Grocer.
Lempert is founder of The Lempert Report, a food trends publication, and SupermarketGuru.com, a leading online resource for food safety, products, trends and shopping tips that attracts more than nine million visitors annually.
Click above to watch the video.