Convenience Store News

NOV 2016

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WWW.CSNEWS.COM | NOVEMBER 2016 | Convenience Store News 71 gas on the lot," Arnold explained. "Offering quality products at an affordable price and creating a loyal base of passionate customers is a key component." Sheetz leverages the strength of the standalone c-store and competes very well with quick-service res- taurants (QSRs), according to Strenk. "They have such a strong c-store offer, and there may be locations that would be viable for that type of offer that don't have the ability or space to move gasoline as well." Some areas of the country, especially urban and downtown markets, lend themselves to producing cus- tomer traffic without gasoline, and that is where many of these chains are now setting up shop. QuikTrip's Atlanta store is within a condominium complex, and because of its downtown location, it is also a high-traffic area with pedestrians walking and cycling by, Thornbrugh said. "One thing we learned, if you drive around the Atlanta metro area, is most people don't know our to the Carlisle Rotary Club in Carlisle, Pa., Louie Sheetz, a long-time company executive and now member of the board of directors, explained how this is the direction the retail- er is headed in for the future. Sheetz already has a full-scale convenience restaurant oper- ating in Altoona, and opened two Sheetz Cafés in Morgantown and State College, Pa. Another location without gasoline was slated to open this fall in Indiana, Pa. "We have the two cafes that are totally food focused and don't offer gasoline," Tarah Arnold, public relations manager for Sheetz, told Convenience Store News. "Morgantown opened in spring of 2015 and State College opened in fall of 2015. They have been incredibly successful due to the location of the two cafes in two college towns and the loyalty of our Sheetz customers for our food offering." ATTRACTING CUSTOMERS WITHOUT A FORECOURT In today's market, making money on gasoline sales is not always guaranteed, but it can still deposit cash to the bottom line. The sale of motor fuels can also be a significant traffic driver to convenience store locations. "Gasoline makes a significant contribution to c-stores and big-box stores as it's a product every single customer needs, and they need it every week," said Mark Whitehead, first vice chairman of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. Those c-store retailers who are moving into urban locations and stores without space for gasoline all have very strong and compelling offers in-store, he explained. "All of these chains are leaders in the c-store business and have strong store sales along with gasoline. In some cases, the c-store can stand on its own," Whitehead noted. Sheetz, for example, differentiates itself from the competition with a strong foodservice offering, and has become a destination for prepared food, according to Donald Strenk, president of California-based Strenk Management Consulting LLC, who works with gas sta- tion and convenience store operators. In fact, one of the positives of not offering gas for Sheetz is its ability to focus solely on the quality and freshness of the food. "We have some unique food items at these loca- tions, so we have that ability because we don't have "In every scenario, you need to figure out what your strategy is for a particular location and how to profit there. If that includes gasoline, then great. If not, then that is fine, too. There are myriad of prod- ucts and services that may or may not be included in a particular site, and gas is just one of them." — Mark Whitehead, Petroleum Marketers Association of America Maverik's first non-gas store is on the ground floor of its new headquarters building in down- town Salt Lake City.

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