Royal Farms Sows New Strategy

East Coast chain aims to expand and reinvent its image as part of 5-year plan

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Updated stores, additional room for foodservice and a new fuel brandthese are key points for the Royal Farms convenience store chain as it launches a 5-year plan to reinvent itself, according to a story in the Delmarva, Md., Daily Times.

The plan was put into action this past week when the Baltimore-based chain announced plans to add three stores in Salisbury, Md., and one each in Millsboro and Greenwood, Del. We are reinventing ourselves and wanted to reinvent ourselves in Salisbury, executive vice president John Kemp told the newspaper. [image-nocss] We are offering a more modern product to the people of Salisbury. It is part of a five-year plan. We need to catch up.

With more than 100 stores in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, Royal Farms' proposed stores are 5,700 square feet on 2 or 3 acres, compared to older, 5,000-square-foot structures on as little as a half acre, according to the report. Increased capacity creates space for seating diners and a Good to Go menu program with added selections such as fresh cut fruit, yogurt and sushi, company officials have said.

With a philosophy, Out with the old, in with new, bigger stores on larger parcels, Royal Farms competes for market share with other convenience stores and rivals drug stores, fast food restaurants and other retailers, Kemp said.

Helping add brand presence will be petroleum products bearing the corporate name that replace the Enroy house brand. Kemp said a decision to self-brand follows an industry trend, and he cited competitor Wawa as a store with its own oil label.

Regarding the Salisbury stores, Kemp said the chain will add three stores at Parsons Road and Pemberton Drive on the West Side; at Route 50 and White Lowe Road; and at Division and Dykes streets near downtown, where plans call to replace an existing Royal Farms for a larger facility. The new Salisbury stores alone should add 90 jobs to the corporate payroll, Kemp said. Expansion brings the number of Royal Farms on Maryland's Eastern Shore to five, and includes a new store under construction in Easton and a new location in Cambridge, he said.

In Delaware, new stores re planned in 2007 for Millsboro at routes 24 and 5 and at routes 50 and 16 in Greenwood, he said.

Other Royal Farms upgrades include renovations at its store on Beaglin Park Drive at Snow Hill Road in Salisbury. Also, a new store format already has been added at a West Ocean City location that opened five years ago. An 84th Street store in Ocean City will add new stock, but it is landlocked and cannot expand.