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SANFORD, N.C. -- The Pantry, Inc. has opened the first convenience store to earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council. The 5,150-square foot Kangaroo store, located in Gainesville, Fla., is a first for the industry and the United States, according to The Pantry.
In the construction of the new convenience store, The Pantry reused as many materials as possible from the car dealership that previously existed there. Materials that could not be reused, but could be recycled, were separated from the general waste. In addition, only low-toxin materials were used in the build. The store boasts five Kangaroo-branded gas pumps and two diesel lanes, along with an electrical vehicle charging station.
Inside the store, which opened earlier this month, day-lighting and low-voltage fluorescent fixtures were used throughout. Outside, landscaping features native and adaptive Floridian plants, which do not require watering once established.
"We are very pleased to unveil this innovative new store design, which we developed in conjunction with academics at the University of Florida," said Peter Sodini, chairman and CEO of The Pantry. "This is a model for the convenience store industry, and we plan to integrate as many elements of this project as possible into our standard designs as we accelerate our new store construction efforts over the next couple of years."
While the store cost the company approximately 15 percent more in construction than a traditional c-store, return on investment will be swift as energy costs are expected to be 25 percent less than a conventional store, according to Sodini.
The LEED's Green Building Rating system is a nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance "green" buildings. The program encourages a whole-building concept, focusing on five "green" areas -- sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
In addition, the store is giving back to its community through a mentoring program for local youth enrolled in the Reichert House, an after-school program that focuses on discipline, work, social and recreational activities. As part of the program, enrolled youngsters will be offered jobs in the foodservice area of the store. It is also donating an electric car to the House, which will be used to transport the employees to and from the store, and can be charged on-site.
Sanford, N.C.-based The Pantry, Inc. is the leading independently-operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States and one of the largest independently-operated convenience store chains in the country. Its net sales for fiscal 2005 totaled approximately $4.4 billion. At the end of June, the company operated 1,499 stores in 11 states under the company's primary banner, Kangaroo Express.