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FREMONT, Calif. — Can a convenience store really be a millennial magnet? Loop Neighborhood Convenience Stores, owned by AU Energy in Fremont, thinks so.
Loop has set out to disrupt the conventional wisdom on what a convenience store should be, partly by reaching out to women, people seeking better choices and, yes, millennials.
Inside and out, the design of the so-far 23 Loop stores, located in Northern California’s Bay Area, is very clean and sharp. There is a café with comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi that entices customers to stay awhile, and there are water bowls for dogs to stay, too.
Product-wise, Loop customers can find smoothies, organic fruits and veggies, sushi, a soup bar, a frozen yogurt stand, and a wine boutique.
The company touts, “We understand that just because you like convenience, doesn’t mean you want to skimp on the types of foods and drinks you’re getting in a hurry.”
Actually, about 50 percent of the product mix is “traditional convenience products — cigarettes, energy drinks and candy,” according to Varish Goyal, company president.
The other 50 percent is not traditional — “all kinds of water, kale, kombucha, aloe, protein drinks, etc.,” Goyal said. “We have a full salad bar that is priced by weight. We have soups that are freshly prepared and delivered. All sandwiches are freshly prepared.”
Loop also has a variety of fruits, and is looking to expand the selection further. And the stores have pre-packaged healthy snacks like cheeses, meat-cheese combos, and bars, too.
“This was absolutely created with millennials in mind, as one of our target profiles,” Goyal told Convenience Store News. “We know millennials like to snack so much [that] they may have six meals a day, so we want to make sure they have different healthy options and fresh products to snack on when they shop our stores.”
Loop is currently working out the kinks in its messaging and aiming to get the word out to millennials about what exactly they can find in-store.
“In the c-store space, we are focused too much on promotions — the ‘two for $2’ and such. What we like to do is more fuel dispenser communications that we have ‘fresh inside for you,’ come in and take a look,” Goyal relayed.
Loop also recently completed a soft launch of its new loyalty program and mobile app. A full launch is expected sometime between mid-May and early June.
Click on the image above to go inside Loop Neighborhood Convenience Stores.