Lessons from the Best

The 2019 Ideas 2 Go showcases nine c-stores that are raising the bar for the convenience industry.

October 14, 2019

ATLANTA—Henry Armour, NACS president and CEO, introduced the highly anticipated Ideas 2 Go to a full house on Thursday, October 3, at the NACS Show, and it didn’t disappoint. Nine convenience store retailers were featured in this year’s video a staple of the NACS Show for more than 40 years. Each was chosen for its unique take on an aspect of convenience that’s critical to future success.

From frictionless store experiences to innovative foodservice offers, this year’s stores are operating the convenience store of tomorrow. These videos showcase retailers that are the bright lights of the convenience and fuel retailing industry and are leading the way by staying ahead of the everchanging consumer landscape.

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High’s

Gambrills, Maryland

This High’s store is the first to undergo a brand revitalization. The 4,870-square-foot store showcases High’s signature items, including hand-breaded chicken, hand-made pizza and hand-dipped ice cream. High’s began as an ice-cream store chain in 1928. Tech upgrades and a frictionless payment option allow customers to use their phones to purchase items.

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The Goods Mart

New York City

This convenience store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood is quintessentially New York. It focuses on curation and community.

Owner Rachel Krupa works with a dietician to provide items that meet certain nutritional profiles. The store has a tip jar where customers can donate to specific local causes, and they can sign up to participate in community events, such as cleanups at local parks.

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Alltown Fresh

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Alltown launched Alltown Fresh this year as “the fresh convenience market.” It offers fresh food choices, bean-to-cup coffee, outdoor seating, groceries, craft beer, a water fountain for pets, traditional snacking options and phone and electric vehicle charging stations. Made-to-order meals include organic, natural, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and locally sourced alternatives. The retailer’s commitment to the community includes its support of numerous local events and charities.

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Russell’s Xpress

Denver, Colorado

Located in a Denver office building, Russell’s Xpress is an unmanned convenience store operated by HJB Convenience Corporation. The store is stocked with snacks, confections, beverages and general merchandise for grab and go. To enter the unmanned store, customers must enter their phone number or the number for the office they are visiting inside the building. Customers make their selections, scan the UPC at one of two checkouts and pay using credit or debit, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay.

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“New Retail”

Shanghai, China

Retail disruption is so advanced in Shanghai, China, it’s called “New Retail.” The seamless integration of the in-store and online shopping experiences has launched four new retail concepts:

Ratio: A fully automated coffee shop.

BK24: A small store offering lunchbox delivery where customers can order a lunchbox from their phone, and the hot meal is delivered to their office or home.

Hema: Part market, part restaurant, part warehouse and part fulfillment center, customers pay with the Alibaba payment app through self-checkout and kiosks. Employees fulfill online orders by collecting items throughout the store, and ceiling conveyors move full shopping bags overhead to a common fulfillment area, where an army of electric scooters waits to make deliveries.

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Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh

Altoona, Iowa

This new concept from the well-known Midwestern grocery chain is a hybrid of grocery and convenience. It blends prepared foods and take-home meal solutions amid a pared-down grocery selection and grab-and-go fare. The store also offers indulgent items, as well as a robust spirits, wine and beer selection, including growlers and crowlers for craft beer.

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Good To Go Markets & Bullhead Pit Beef

Columbia, Maryland

Bullhead Pit Beef food truck is Good To Markets’ answer to a foodservice program. This food truck is in the fast lane, operating at community events, festivals and local breweries. Pit beef sandwiches are the main attraction of this Baltimore favorite. The menu also includes chicken, pork, tacos and sides, such as mac and cheese. Teamwork is key in this small space, requiring the right attitude, people and culture to problem-solve quickly and adjust on the fly.

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Choice Market

Denver, Colorado

Located in a 350-unit apartment complex, Choice Market is a combination of a convenience store for coffee, drinks and snacks on the go, a fill-in grocery store for fresh meats, cheeses, fruits, produce and household items, and a quick-service restaurant featuring seasonal and locally grown ingredients for fresh-prepared sandwiches, salads, bowls and juices. Choice is committed to recycled and compostable packaging.

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7-Eleven

Denver, Colorado

Former NACS Chairman Dave Carpenter, president and CEO of J.D. Carpenter Companies Inc., recently opened a new 7-Eleven store just outside of Denver inspired by the visualization of food that European retailers create with their fresh and prepared food offers and displays. The store even features kombucha on tap and 7-Now delivery.

Don’t miss the 2019 Ideas 2 Go video for a look at the c-stores that are raising the bar for our industry.

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