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    What's In Store: Openings & Closings

    Enmark Stations opens in Bluffton, S.C., as Thorntons continues Tampa Bay expansion.

    NATIONAL REPORT -- The convenience store industry landscape is constantly changing as chains open and close stores each week. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News highlights these comings and goings in this special roundup.

    Here are the latest company spotlights:

    7-Eleven Inc.
    7-Eleven is opening two new stores – one in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and the other in Kansas City, Kan. The Manhattan location is at 135 W. Third St., and was formally home to Village Bagels & Juice Bar. It will open at the end of April and be a 24-hour location, according to a report by DNAInfo.com.

    The new location in Kansas City will be across the street from the University of Kansas Hospital, and will open in mid-April in a 3,050-square-foot corner space, joining an 83-room Holiday Inn Express and a Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Kansascity.com reported. It will be one of 7-Eleven’s urban “walk-up” stores.

    Enmark Stations Inc.
    Enmark Stations Inc. celebrated the grand opening of its newest store in Bluffton, S.C., located on the corner of Highway 278 and Island West Park. It was built from the ground up and designed to complement the décor of existing developments in the Bluffton/Beaufort County community, according to the company.

    The store features traditional convenience store items, as well as hot breakfast items, frozen yogurt and Enmark’s signature Krispy Krunchy chicken, which is available for both lunch and dinner. The station offers Super Blu ethanol-free fuel and has 16 gas pumps, including one for diesel.

    “Bluffton residents are already familiar with Enmark’s reputation for quality and customer service, and we’re pleased to be able to serve their needs at our new location,” said Houstoun Demere, Enmark Stations’ vice president. “We also look forward to serving visitors to the area, who we know will appreciate patronizing a local business that offers great prices and stellar service."

    Gill Energy
    Creative Management Inc., T/A Gill Energy, opened its newest outlet in northern New Jersey, under the 76 fuel brand. The move not only adds 76 to its growing portfolio of brands, which include BP, Sunoco, Exxon and Mobil, but also brings a new fuel brand to the retail landscape in the Garden State, the company stated.

    Located at 2118 Springfield Ave. in Maplewood, N.J., this is Gill Energy’s second 76 station in New Jersey. The new location features the PROclean line of fuels, formulated by Phillips 66 Co. Additionally, the site has a 500-square-foot snack shop, an illuminated canopy and an LED price sign.

    “We are extremely pleased with the initial customer response,[as well as] estimate volume growth of over 40 percent at this previously unbranded location,” said Bikram Gill, CEO of Gill Energy.

    The company expects to have 10 locations branded 76 by the end of this year.

    RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.
    After months of construction, RaceTrac opened the doors on its new State Road 54 location in Lutz, Fla., which features a frozen yogurt bar, walk-in beer cooler and on-site bakery, according to the Land O Lakes Patch. The location is open 24 hours, seven days a week, and weekly specials are posted on the company’s website.

    Sheetz Inc.
    On March 28, Sheetz will open a new location in Yadkinville, N.C., on Highway 601 at the intersection of Highway 421, according to a report by Yadkinripple.com.

    The site will feature a 6,400-square-foot store with six gasoline dispensers that allow for 12 cars to fill up at one time, according to Steven Augustine, director of real estate for Sheetz. Inside the store will be a made-to-order restaurant, whereby customers can order from touchscreens located in the station’s pumps or inside the restaurant.

    There will be 30 indoor seats for those who choose to stay and eat, plus eight outdoor tables for those that choose to enjoy the weather with their meal, the report noted.

    Thorntons Inc.
    As part its entrance into the Sunshine State, Thorntons is constructing a new 4,400-square-foot store in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area. The new location at 425 E. Brandon Blvd. is scheduled to open May 23, according to a Tampa Bay Online report.

    The company previously revealed plans to open 15 to 20 Tampa Bay stores over the next three years. Its strategy kicked off with the opening of a Thorntons store in Clearwater, followed shortly by another location in Largo. The company's first foray into Hillsborough is a Carrollwood location scheduled to open March 21.

    Like the Carollwood store, the Thorntons in Brandon will be open 24 hours and is expected to employ 10 to 12 people, spokeswoman Kelly Ogburn said.

    Wawa Inc.
    Also in Tampa Bay, Wawa will open its sixth area store on May 8, Colleen Labik, public relations coordinator for the company, said in a South Tampa Patch report. The store will measure 5,636 square feet and be located at 401 N. Dale Mabry Highway near Gray Street.

    In other Wawa news, the company is also opening a new location on the campus of St. Petersberg College in Tarpon Springs, Fla. A 0.9-acre, L-shaped sliver of a parking lot near the intersection of U.S. 19 and Klosterman Road was sold to RKM Development Corp. of St. Petersburg, which plans to build the store, TampaBay.com reported. Wawa plans to focus its growth in Florida over the next two decades, potentially building 300 to 400 additional stores. A handful are expected to open throughout the Tampa Bay area in the next few months, the report stated.

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