Shipping Containers Find New Life as Convenience Stores

Farm Stores is repurposing the containers into small drive-thru locations amid a focus on sustainability.

April 24, 2019

SCOTT, La. – In May, a new Farm Stores location will open, but it won’t be anything like the other 65 drive-thru stores, CNN reports. The new unit in Scott, La., will be made from two recycled shipping containers, welded together to create a 640-square-foot store.

Owner Robert Pressler positioned the store along a busy route to cater to workers and parents driving kids to school. “When I moved to Louisiana, there was a drive-thru everything,” he said. “To me, a drive-thru store is so convenient, especially when you have kids in the car.”

Farm Stores, which is headquartered in Florida, opened in 1957, at the height of the drive-thru craze. “In the 1950s, Americans were already going to drive-in theatres and drive-in diners. The idea emerged to replicate this model in convenience stores,” said Maurice Bared, Farm Stores owner and CEO.

Bared started franchising Farm Stores in 2015 and plans to have all new locations made with recycled shipping containers because of their low-cost, environmentally friendly nature. More than half of the 600 locations he wants to develop are already under construction in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

“The majority of new stores are being built in shipping containers,” he said. “I had this vision of a Farm Store in a container for two reasons. … First, the shoebox layout of a container is the same exact size as our stores. … I also grew up in the construction industry with my father having his own business. It’s where I saw the foremen had converted shipping containers into their offices.”

The Louisiana unit is the first to be made out of shipping containers. “This [recycled] store might not have had much appeal in the 1990s,” Bared said. “But it makes so much sense now with the popularity of the green movement.”