By Chrissy Blasinsky
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Differentiating your brand is key to success in the convenience retail industry, and that’s exactly what’s happening at PRIDE Stores.
There are 15 PRIDE Stores in the Chicagoland area that feature one of three made-to-order restaurant concepts: PRIDE Cafe, Urban Counter and Taco Urbano. A recent addition to PRIDE’s concepts is a brewery—that’s right, a c-store with its own brewery—called 93 Octane.
The brewery came about when Mario Spina, owner and CEO of Parent Petroleum, wanted to utilize the remaining 1,000 square feet at an existing 5,000 square foot PRIDE location in St. Charles, Illinois, which already featured an Urban Counter and the company’s liquor store brand, PRIDE Beer and Wine Plus Spirit.
“We always joked around how cool it would be if we brewed our own beer. We have a really great selection of craft beer at our convenience stores, we do heavy local, we just love craft beer … and then we started thinking a little bit more serious about it,” Spina explained in a recent Convenience Matters podcast.
It’s also not lost on Spina that most customers rely on their local c-store to accomplish one task they least enjoy—a reason why he’s committed to creating an enjoyable experience.
“Nobody enjoys buying gas,” he said. “What we try to do is make it an enjoyable experience for things that people do enjoy, like good food, a nice craft beer and a nice selection of wine and spirits. We try to focus on the things that people enjoy, and hopefully when they need to buy fuel, they’ll do it here because they know they can make other purchases on things they enjoy buying,” Spina said.
“Our slogan is, ‘Not your typical convenience store.’ We try to take that to heart. If somebody walks in, you want a unique experience for them where they can see things you’re not going to see at a convenience store,” he said.
Watch more on how PRIDE Stores are doing things differently in this NACS Ideas 2 Go video.