BOSTON -- Athletic shoe and clothing maker Reebok and architecture firm Gensler are proposing to turn the fueling stations of the future into “fitness hubs” where customers can work out while they charge their cars.
The c-store model, dubbed the “Get Pumped” campaign, theorizes what electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations would look like if customers could work out and shop for health-focused products while they wait.
The concept includes infrastructure one might expect at a modern gym. Offerings include a farm-to-table eatery or a juice bar, plus yoga and meditation pods. What was once an auto-repair shop could host nutrition classes, and pop-up trucks could host CrossFit and spin classes instead of selling food.
Acknowledging that the concept would be a dramatic change for the convenience-store industry, a Reebok spokesperson clarified to CSP Daily News that the plan is just that—a concept. The spokesperson said there is no schedule or path forward to build the c-store/gym hybrid at this time.
The concept is built on Reebok and Gensler's vision of “a future where fitness is universally accessible.” Reebok is a fitness lifestyle brand, not a fuel retailer, and according to the company’s spokesperson, no one on the Reebok staff working on this concept has experience in the convenience-petroleum industry.
Central to this vision is a future where many cars on the road are EVs. But the focus of the concept isn’t recharging cars. Reebok’s vision is mostly about recharging customers’ bodies.
“Reebok believes that we’re always training to be our best,” said Austin Malleolo, head of Reebok fitness facilities in a blog post. “This design work with Gensler allows us to imagine a future where there is zero barrier to entry for an opportunity to work out and be healthy. Consumers may not need gas stations anymore, but instead of wasting them, we’re recycling them, and maximizing the space so that they become places of community.”
Reebok and Gensler make it clear that this concept is meant for urban hubs, where EVs are likely to become mainstream sooner than in rural areas. “We envision our cities of the future to have a network of fitness oases between home and work where you could stop and recharge more than just your car. Imagine an option to leave the traffic jam to unwind with yoga, get your CrossFit fix, or pick up a green juice and your weekly farm share all in one place.” said Alfred Byun, a designer at Gensler, in the blog.
While today it seems unlikely that gas stations will transition into fitness centers as EVs gain more share of the road, the proposal demonstrates that the world is pondering what will happen to convenience stores if/when gasoline takes a back seat to alternative fuels. Unless c-stores share their vision for a post-gasoline world, disruptors from outside of the c-store industry will step in and answer this question for it.
Reebok International, based in Boston, is a worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of fitness and lifestyle footwear, apparel and equipment. Reebok is a subsidiary of the Adidas Group and operates under multiple divisions of the Reebok brand.
San Francisco-based Gensler is a global architecture, design and planning firm with 44 locations and more than 5,000 professionals around the world.