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UPPER DARBY, Del. -- Swiss Farms, a drive-thru convenience store headquartered in Marple, Del., opened its 11th store here last week.
The 12,000-square foot store features two drive-thru lanes and is part of its plans to add 10 new locations to its roster by 2008, which includes additional store openings in Aston and Concord, Del. It has already opened a store in Lionsville, Del., and has plans in the work to reach out to Montgomery County and Southern New Jersey as well.
Customers are "starting to catch on" to Swiss Farm stores, Rob Coldwell, Swiss Farms' director of operations, told the Delco Times. "They're starting to understand the convenience and the high-quality products, so it's moving in the right direction."
"Drive-thru knows no demographic [and] convenience is universal," Coldwell added. Customers seem to agree. "This is right around the corner for me," said Maryanne Quinn of Clifton Heights, Del. "I love it. I’m so happy."
Diane Nestor of Springfield, Del., expressed similar emotions. "I positively love it," she said. "You can drive in and drive out."
Although the Swiss Farms stores have been well-known in Delaware County for nearly 40 years, Coldwell told the paper that its successful entry into Chester County gives the company confidence that it will work well in other locales.
It is planning to test this theory, as it expects to double the number of locations it had at the beginning of 2006 to 20 stores within the next two years.
The growth is not only reflected on the number of stores, but what is inside of them as well. Swiss Farms now boasts coffee, breakfast foods, microwaveable Italian dinners and salads to its lineup which already included fresh dairy products and snacks.
With added locations and offerings, some believe Swiss Farms could be competition to larger players such as 7-Eleven and Wawa. "If someone's driving down Township Line [Road] and they need a quart of milk, they don't say 'Gee, should I go to a CVS or a Wawa or an AP mini market or Swiss Farms,' they go wherever it's most convenient," Saint Joseph University food marketing professor Richard George told the Delco Times. "So that makes them competitors even if though they don't look like a Wawa or a 7-Eleven."