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    Stewart's Shops Revamps Look, Size of C-stores

    Plans for a new convenience store in Colonie, N.Y., call for a 2,990-square-foot site.

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y -- Faced with changing consumer preferences and planning board directives, Stewart's Shops is taking on a new look.

    The locally based convenience store retailer's stores have mostly been recognized by their architecture: typically one-story brick buildings with a mansard roof. However, the retailer's executives have decided the time has come for a makeover, according to the Albany Times Union.

    "The mansard roof really acted as a sign," explained Tom L. Lewis, real estate representative for Stewart's Shops. "People could see the building and know it was a Stewart's."

    The switch comes as municipal planning boards are insisting on unique designs, and Stewart's Shops is finding that customers like the updated look of the newer stores, the news outlet reported.

    In addition to debuting a new look, the size of the stores are changing as well. The typical Stewart's Shops location measures approximately 2,400 square feet. Now, the square footage is being bumped up to 3,000 square feet, the news outlet noted. Stewart's spends about $1 million to $1.3 million on each new store, according to Lewis.

    For example, a newly opened store on Route 9 in Latham, N.Y., has 23 parking spaces, up from 11 at the old store on the same site. In addition, the gas pumps are easier to reach and the lighting has been improved.

    Stewart's Shops was slated to present an application for concept acceptance at the Colonie Planning Board meeting last night. The plans include razing the existing structure at 1218 Troy Schenectady Rd. and replacing it with a 2,990-square-foot based convenience store and fuel canopy, according to the planning board's agenda.

    Last year, Stewart's Shops replaced stores in Warrensburg and Lake George, N.Y., with new buildings, both of which have an "Adirondack look," Lewis told the newspaper.

    The new stores often are built not far from the existing stores, which remain open throughout the process, said Stewart's Shops spokesman Tom Mailey. The old buildings are then quickly demolished.

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