Hopping to It

The Pantry's first ground-up Kangaroo Express store in four years opens in Charlotte (slideshow)

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- People driving by North Tryon Street in Charlotte, N.C., may have noticed some commotion going on as a brand new convenience store opened its doors. For area residents, it may have been just another c-store, but for the channel, it marked the first step into new-builds in four years for a legendary M&A chain.

The Pantry, Cary, N.C., had become notorious over the past two decades as a roll-up leader, growing through acquisition one of the largest c-store chains in the country at about 1,600 locations.

But this past weekend was about transition and building the kind of store that looks more like what leading-edge chains are opening--a 4,900-square-foot, ground-up facility featuring coffee, baked goods and fresh sandwiches.

Customers visiting the new store noticed its fast, friendly and clean environment. In addition to the Bean Street Coffee, fresh sandwiches and assortment of bakery options, the store is the first Kangaroo Express to offer frozen yogurt.

The 4,900 square foot store featured a Subway restaurant able to accommodate 30 guests, as well as a drive-through window. The store also featured Aunt M's, known for its chicken tenders, sandwiches and warm biscuits; a Redbox self-service kiosk; and Marathon-branded fuel.

The new "Kangaroo Express" store milestone came with much fanfare, including a ribbon-cutting event and $2,000 check presentation to Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation. The celebration featured family-friendly activities, including NASCAR and military vehicles, musical entertainment by the Harding University High School Drum Line, an appearance by Carolina Panthers' Sir Purr, rock climbing, face painting and other celebratory activities.

Event attendees also sampled free cups of "Bean Street Coffee," 25-cent hot dogs and a contest to win free gas. Guests who showed a fuel-purchase receipt of $50 or more were offered a chance to win one of five $50 fuel prizes.

"Kangaroo Express has been a part of the Charlotte community for many years, serving the on-the-go lifestyle of Charlotte residents and partnering with our guests to support local charities such as Victory Junction and the USO of North Carolina," said Danny Moore, regional sales director for Kangaroo Express. "With the opening of this store, we look forward to serving even more guests and offering a new, fresh place for guests to pause, fuel up and get right at The Roo."

The new store is an example of the investments Kangaroo Express is making in its communities across the southeastern United States, officials said. These plans include more quick-serve restaurants in stores, remodeling more than 70 stores and opening five new stores.

Watch for CSP magazine's April cover feature on organic growth and new-builds within the c-store channel.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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