CSP Exclusive: Inside Mapco's Latest Store Design

Retailer to build 20 new sites a year, rebrand older locations

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News


BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- With 20 new convenience stores to be built a year and a rebranding program under way, Delek Holdings' Mapco may be on its way to shaking the moniker of being exclusively a rollup acquirer.

Sure, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based retail is still open to growing through acquisition, but a strategy evolution over the past couple of years has the chain introducing new programs, building a new prototype and rebranding the numerous store brands it has acquired over the years.

"Our focus is to build around 20 new stores a year," Austin Martin, vice president of sales and marketing for Mapco, told CSP Daily News in an exclusive interview in one of its newest stores. "This year we'll get 12 stores in, and we're continuing to ramp up each year."

The new store in Clarksville, Tenn., is a 5,000-square-foot store opened in May 2013. Distinctly divided between a foodservice side and a convenience-product side, the store aims to highlight the multiple programs--some new, others well-worn and popular--inside.

"In this store we have some unique programs that aren't available in our other stores," Martin said.

Among them are:

  • The newer My Deli, which makes salads, sandwiches and other foodservice items to-order.
  • An expanded beer cooler and beer cave developed to capitalize on the growth of craft brews in markets where it makes sense.
  • A growler beer program that invites customers to fill jugs with craft beers fresh from the tap.

"This is one of the first stores where we launched our growler program," Martin said. "This store has had phenomenal beer sales and the sales mix has been very good for us. We have customers coming in looking for [a variety of beer]. … [The growler program] brings them in over and over again."

About My Deli, he added, "Everything is made fresh. We roast our own turkeys in house. We cut up our own fruits and vegetables. The way we differentiate ourselves from many sandwich programs is rather than aim for the perception of 'fresh,' we actually make it fresh for you right here."

The store also features Mapco's numerous private-label products, including packaged beverages (carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, iced teas and juices), snacks (popcorn, crackers and nuts/trail mixes) and general merchandise (motor oil and energy shots).

"That's an opportunity for us to set ourselves apart," Martin said. "We can offer the consumer something different, a high-quality product at a lower price than what our branded competitors can offer in some cases. It also gives us the opportunity to try unique and different things."

Meanwhile, the chain is slowly phasing out many of the older store monikers that it has acquired over the years to better focus on its own store brands, primarily Mapco Mart for high-traffic stores and Delta Express for slower sites. Store names being phased out include Mapco Express, East Coast, Discount Food Mart, Fast Food & Fuel and Favorite Markets.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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