Convenience stores (or C-stores) have quickly become America’s one-stop shop for all kinds of retail and grocery products. Ranging from fun-sized snacks to tobacco to even fresh dairy and produce, convenience stores are often paired with gas stations to give the community everything they need in one go. When combined with gas station profit, c-stores make up a whopping 5% of the country’s GDP.
With the pandemic spurning a revolution in remote working and the need for better convenience, we’ve seen American c-store sales rise 1.5% this year—and are expected to climb. In this blog, we’ll cover the many advantages of convenience stores and why c-store owners should make the ultimate investment in their business’s future: grocery store distributors.
Prime Grocery Location
Convenience stores are typically placed right outside neighborhood streets to provide goods in minutes. Usually much smaller than your average grocery store, the c-store is transforming into the ideal place for quick purchases and essential items—without the shopper congestion and neverending aisles. When you need a few things that don’t constitute an entire grocery store purchase, you can get what you need and go. And unlike some stores that require buying items in bulk, c-stores are designed for the individual.
Less is More
Convenience stores range from cozy boutique city shops in the North to massive supergiants in the South but continue upholding the standard of grab-and-go items despite the size. And although some are reaching grocery store-esque heights, they do so in a fashion that strategically targets travelers without caving into the “stay-awhile” culture. Customers will find groceries, wholesale tobacco products, and ergonomic snacks in adventure-friendly sizes to hit the road, beach, and lake with.
Gone are the days when c-stores were limited to a stale bag of chips and burnt coffee—now customers can walk into a thriving ecosystem of organic produce and meat, premium wines, artisan cheeses, cartons of free-range eggs, milk, and non-GMO freezer meals.
Many new-age convenience stores devote their business to serving locally-sourced, sustainable greens, while others share the best of both worlds with a mix of healthy and fatty (but delicious) food options. No matter the agenda, all convenience stores follow the principle of honoring the most important c-store element: snacks. Now more ingredient-conscious, c-stores have a variety of munchies to choose from other than the common junk foods.
C-stores no longer relish solely being known for their easily-available location. They have bigger plans: building loyalty programs, adding car washes, launching mobile apps, discounts, and exclusive deals. Convenience stores also incorporate pre-delivery into their grocery services, allowing customers to order their morning bagel and cup of joe before entering the door.
Another major technological advancement for your more “traditional” c-stores is self-checkout: the holy grail of convenience. When you think about user-friendly tech, cashier-less checkout stations probably come to mind; it’s the epitome of fast grocery shopping. They also help c-stores regulate shopper traffic and take a more dominant role during staffing shortages.
The first convenience stores emerged in 1927 under the Southland Ice Company in Dallas, Texas. It became the prime spot for America’s first 7-Eleven, home to the iconic Slurpee. Lately, the pure convenience of c-stores has caused Americans to flock there for their groceries versus driving to an actual grocery store due to location alone. The evolution of c-stores can be best exhibited in Korea’s 7-Eleven, where customers can even enjoy bento box meals, fresh fish, and a bakery!
7-Eleven is just one example of a successful c-store franchise that has exploded in popularity. About 40% of convenience stores in the United States are connected to a franchise chain, like Wawa, Foodmart, and more. That leaves 60% to small business owners, which continue to dominate the market. If your successful small business is looking to expand to newer locations, there is an abundance of barren highway rest stops to choose from.
The New World Of Convenience
The convenience industry is rapidly growing in America, the goldilocks zone for start-ups and entrepreneurs alike. In our other blog, we talk about the benefits of working with a wholesale grocery distributor as you maximize your c-store— including market expansion, simpler business processes, lower cost of business, new products, increased storage, and so much more! As you grow your resources, convenience store distributors can act as the key middleman between you, the manufacturer, and the consumer.
Atlantic Dominion is the next generation of convenience store distributors in Virginia, giving convenience store owners cutting-edge technology to track trends, monitor sales, and ship grocery products at a reduced risk. Our mission is to skyrocket your business profitability by ensuring the safe transportation, storage, packaging, and delivery of your grocery goods—from farm to checkout.
Need help upscaling your convenience store? Atlantic Dominion is en route. Call (757) 497-1001 or contact us online for more distribution information.