CHICAGO — Although the “pandemic pause” on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has largely thawed, organic, new-to-industry (NTI) growth appears to be a trend in the convenience-store industry in 2022. Part of that growth includes chains moving into or planning to move into new states or markets.
Here’s a review of some of the recent convenience-store chain geographical expansion …
On April 19, Buc-ee’s opened a new travel center in Richmond, Ky., its first location in the Bluegrass State. The site has 120 fuel positions, and the store occupies more than 53,000 square feet.
On May 16, Buc-ee's opened a new travel center in Florence, S.C., its first in the Palmetto State. The new store occupies more than 53,000 square feet, and the site offers 120 fueling positions.
On June 27, Buc-ee’s debuted a new travel center in Crossville, Tenn., its first location in the Volunteer State. The new store occupies more than 53,400 square feet, and the site offers 120 fueling positions.
The Lake Jackson, Texas-based retailer has another store under construction in Tennessee, in Sevierville.
Founded in 1982, Buc-ee’s now has 35 stores across Texas, as well as eight locations in other states. It began its multi-state expansion in 2019 and has since opened two travel centers in Alabama, two in Florida and two in Georgia. Buc-ee’s recently opened its first stores in Kentucky and South Carolina as well, and broke ground on its first Colorado location in June. Buc-ee's also has announced the development of its first stores in Mississippi and Missouri.
EG Group/Cumberland Farms
On June 15, EG Group, through its EG America LLC subsidiary, introduced the Cumberland Farms brand to the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama. It opened two new Cumberland Farms stores in the region, the first of many planned to open on the Gulf Coast in the next 24 months.
The new Cumberland Farms in Orange Beach, Ala., is 7,700 square feet with 12 gas pumps. This location has a Sbarro restaurant and a Burger King restaurant. The other new Cumberland Farms, in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., is 6,700 square feet with 12 gas pumps and a Burger King.
In February, following research that projected a “tremendous growth opportunity,” the company announced plans to expand Cumberland Farms to the Gulf Coast by converting most of its Tom Thumb stores, in addition to developing new locations.
Founded in 2001 as EuroGarages by co-CEOs Moshin and Zuber Issa, Blackburn, U.K.-based EG Group has more than 6,200 sites across the United Kingdom and Ireland, Europe, the United States and Australia. In 2018, EG Group established itself in the United States as EG America by acquiring Kroger’s 762-site c-store network. It acquired TravelCenters of America’s 225-unit Minit Mart c-store business in 2018. And in 2019, EG Group acquired Cumberland Farms and its nearly 660 c-stores in the Northeast and Florida, and EG America now has its headquarters in Westborough, Mass. With more than 1,750 sites across 33 states, U.S. c-store brands include Cumberland Farms, Certified Oil, Fastrac, Kwik Shop, Loaf N’ Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Stop, Sprint Food Stores, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill.
On June 16, QuikTrip opened its first convenience store in the state of Colorado, in Firestone, about 45 minutes north of Denver.
The retailer has a second location slated to open in Denver in July. QuikTrip plans to have five stores completed in the Denver area by the end of 2022. Planning is underway for future Colorado locations in Denver, Bennett, Parker and Thornton, it said.
This new store is a Gen 3S with a vertical nine-multipump dispenser (MPD) side-split gas canopy, according to the company.
The Tulsa, Okla.-based retailer operates more than 900 c-stores across 15 states.
In April, Sheetz said it is expanding into western Ohio by opening approximately 20 locations in Dayton over the next five years. It is aiming to open its first Dayton store in 2024, the company said.
Sheetz opened its first store in the Columbus, Ohio, market in April 2021. It currently operates 56 locations in Ohio, with an overall store count of approximately 650 across its six-state footprint, which includes Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland.
In April, Wawa announced plans to expand its footprint into the Florida Panhandle and adjacent markets in southern Alabama over the next few years, the beginning of a new period of aggressive expansion with a goal of doubling the chain’s more than 965 store count by 2030.
And Wawa will “fill in the market” between Virginia and Florida along the I-95 corridor throughout the decade, CEO Chris Gheysens told the Philadelphia Business Journal.
In early June, Wawa announced plans to expand its footprint into the Nashville, Tenn., market. The chain will open its first Music City store in 2025, it said, with the potential for up to 40 stores in the market.
In late June, Wawa announced its plans to further expand its footprint in central Pennsylvania, reaching further west along the Susquehanna River with its first new store in the central part of the Keystone State in 2024, with the potential for up to 40 additional stores.
The company continues to open stores throughout its current markets, it said, and it is set to open 54 new stores in 2022. Additionally, Wawa has plans to enter new, adjacent markets in the next few years.
The Wawa, Pa. -based retailer operates c-stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.