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SAN ANTONIO — Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes’ food program is one of the things that attracted CST Brands Inc. to acquire the Canastota, N.Y.-based convenience store chain. Soon, CST’s Corner Store customers will get a taste of what central New York diners have been enjoying for a decade.
CST plans to open five new-to-industry Corner Store prototype stores in Texas this year with similar made-to-order offerings as Nice N Easy’s signature Easy Street Eatery concept. This will mark the Corner Store chain’s first foray into proprietary made-to-order foodservice.
“[Dr.] Jack Cushman from Nice N Easy is leading an effort to build the Nice N Easy kitchen concept into five new-to-industry stores we are building in the San Antonio area. The first is expected to open in October,” CST Brands Chairman, President and CEO Kim Lubel told Convenience Store News.
Cushman, a 16-year Nice N Easy veteran who previously served as executive vice president of foodservice and led the development of Nice N Easy’s Easy Street Eatery concept, assumed the role of director of foodservice at CST Brands following its acquisition of Nice N Easy. He is now tasked with taking the best offerings and practices from Nice N Easy to CST’s Corner Stores in the U.S. and Canada, including its Dépanneur du Coin stores in Quebec, and integrating them across the organization.
While it’s unlikely the made-to-order concept will be called Easy Street Eatery in Texas (a name is still being decided), the items on the menu will largely be the same, incorporating the existing morning daypart success of Corner Store with the lunch and dinner success of Nice N Easy’s Easy Street Eatery.
The Easy Street Eatery menu includes multiple varieties of appetizers, hot subs, cold sandwiches and wraps, fresh salads, sandwich melts, and more.
“As you move into lunch, people expect personal service and the ability to customize,” Cushman told CSNews, touting the advantages of made-to-order during the lunch and dinner dayparts.
He is delighted that the program the Nice N Easy team created will now reach beyond the central New York region Nice N Easy serves.
“I always knew this business model would take off coast to coast,” Cushman said. “CST is young, smart, aggressive enough and has the capital to invest. It’s exciting for me. I’ve been waiting for this kind of opportunity. I know we can enhance the overall business model at CST.”
Since acquiring the New York retailer, CST has also drawn on Nice N Easy’s success in the grocery category. CST is incorporating more of a fill-in grocery mentality into its Corner Stores.
The opportunity for bread, milk, edible and non-edible grocery is huge for convenience stores, many of which have gotten away from grocery as they focused on improving their foodservice over the past several years. CST wants to meet that need, especially among millennials who shop more often and buy closer to need than older consumers, according to company leaders.
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.