6 Retailers Entering New States

By 
Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

Wawa

CHICAGO -- A recent spate of convenience-store retailers expanding or announcing expansion beyond the borders of their established geographies has others looking over their shoulders.

Even some chains that have remained in their state of origin since their inception are making moves into new territories for the first time.

Here's a look at several chains growing beyond their traditional markets and details on their expansion plans …

1. Wawa

Wawa interior

Wawa Inc. will open its first convenience store in Washington, D.C., this year, the retailer said.

To announce the new location, the company is holding an event June 13, “A Front Page Look at the Wawa Experience,” at the Newseum in Washington.

“Our restaurant-style location will feature the best of Wawa’s products and innovations in a casual, inviting setting,” the company said.

Wawa, based in Wawa, Pa., operates more than 750 c-stores across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

2. Yesway

Yesway interior

The acquisition of 35 Wes-T-Go and Chillerz convenience stores in Abilene, Texas, signaled the first of four new states retailer Yesway intends to enter. After recently expanding within Iowa and into Kansas, Yesway is getting set to grow further and will add not only Texas, but also Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, to its geographic footprint, the company said.

These new stores will be added to the company’s existing portfolio of 38 locations currently operating in Iowa and Kansas.

BW Gas & Convenience Holdings LLC, doing business as Yesway, is based in West Des Moines, Iowa. It is a unit of private-equity investment firm Brookwood Financial Partners LC, Beverly, Mass.

3. Rutter’s

Rutter's Farm Stores

Rutter’s Farm Stores, which has long operated only within the confines of Pennsylvania, plans to open its first convenience stores outside of the Keystone State this year, said CEO and President Scott Hartman.

The chain expects to open c-store locations in Maryland and West Virginia this year, Hartman said, according to a report by the Central Penn Business Journal.

York, Pa.-based Rutter’s operates 67 c-stores, currently all in Pennsylvania.

4. Buc-ee's

Buc-ee's Ltd.

Convenience-store retailer Buc-ee’s Ltd. is expanding beyond the confines of the Lone Star State with three new stores slated to break ground in 2018. The Daytona Beach Travel Center in Florida will be Buc-ee’s first location outside of Texas, followed by new locations in Fort Myers, Fla., and Baldwin County, Ala.

Once open, the 50,000-square-foot Daytona Beach Travel Center will become the largest gas station/convenience store in the state of Florida, according to the company. It will feature at least 120 fueling positions and offer products tailored to the Florida market.

Lake Jackson, Texas-based Buc-ee’s has 32 c-stores and travel centers.

5. Casey's

Casey's General Stores

With its first convenience store in Ohio now open in Cridersville and expansion into new and existing markets in the works, Casey’s General Stores Inc. is in growth mode, and it's beefing up its real-estate and new-store development departments to prove it.

“We’re certainly gearing ourselves up for future accelerated growth pace,” said Terry Handley, Casey’s president and CEO, during the company’s third-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings call on March 7.

The company, which has a primary distribution center in Des Moines, Iowa, opened a second distribution center in February 2016 in Terre Haute, Ind.

“Our growth plans are centered around moving east and south to leverage that distribution center," CFO Bill Walljasper said in June. "We’ll have stores open in Ohio this fiscal year and continue to fill in and move in that direction. We noticed that it was a very similar demographic to some of our more seasoned states like Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. … So we think we have a tremendous opportunity there.”

Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s operates more than 1,950 stores in 14 Midwestern states.

6. Lidl

Lidl

And while not strictly a c-store brand, German retailer Lidl is entering the United States with a new chain of small-format grocery stores to take on Wal-Mart and Aldi, and perhaps bedevil the convenience channel.

Lidl will open its first small-format discount grocery stores in the United States on June 15. The company released a list of 20 stores that will open in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina during summer 2017.

By summer 2018, Lidl, with U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, Va., plans to open up to 100 stores across the East Coast, creating a total of 5,000 U.S. jobs.

At 20,000 square feet, the new Lidl stores are larger than most convenience stores and will compete with other retail channels on price.