CRU Awards Part 2: New Store Format Brings 'More'

Kum & Go honored for ambitious, green store design

Samantha Oller, Senior Editor/Fuels, CSP

Mitch Morrison (left), Steve Kimmes

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Take a look at the newest Kum & Go store format, and you'll notice more--more cooler doors, more floor space, more earth-friendly touches and more opportunities to win customer loyalty. Unveiled at 20 sites, with plans to build 20 to 25 new locations each year, the new Kum & Go format is about 45% larger than the former footprint at 5,000 square feet.

Kum & Go was presented with a Convenience Retailing Award for store design Wednesday during CSP's Convenience Retailing University event in Fort Worth, Texas.

Much of the added space has been given to a huge foodservice expansion, complete with an in-house kitchen. Here you'll find Kum & Go's new Go Fresh Market foodser­vice program, serving up freshly made pizza, cold and hot sandwiches, subs, wraps and baked goods.

The new format also features a larger and separated coffee and fountain area for better traffic flow and more elbow room. This also makes space for more cups and lids at the coffee bar and fountain , which not only means customers always have what they need to fill up, but also that Kum & Go store associates can refill supplies more easily.

This employee-friendly approach was the result of Kum & Go's careful efforts at designing a store that fit the needs of its most important people. The company polled store associates, general managers and category managers about what features they would like to see in the store design. Based on that feedback, the company built three mock-ups, complete with cooler doors, equipment and plywood counters. Next, store associates, supervisors and executives from the store support center toured the mock-ups. Based on their feedback, Kum & Go's real-estate team created the final design.

The new format also addresses specific customer needs. Kum & Go added open-air coolers for milk to make grab-and-go easy. In addition, thanks to customer input, the restrooms are entirely touch-free. Entry doors have been replaced by long, twisting hallways; and sensor-driven sinks, toilets and hand dryers are now standard.

And, addressing both associate and customer needs, the new format features a checkout area moved from the side to the center of the store. This enables not only the associate to see everything that's happening in the store, but also to greet as many customers as possible with a friendly face, as they walk into the store.

Finally, as Kum & Go continues its commitment to environmentally friendly construction, the new format utilizes SolaTubes in the ceiling to bring daylight into the store and cut down on electricity costs. And outside, electric-vehicle motorists can "fill the tank" at charging stations. So far, Kum & Go has built 20 sites to LEED standards, with three certified and plans to make every new-build a contender.