CSP Magazine

Grand Opening: Cornering the Market

CST’s newest foodservice-heavy location drums up double the sales of legacy stores

"Welcome to Corner Store!”

That’s the first thing you hear when you walk into a Corner Store, where team members live up to their mission to “Delight More Customers Every Day.”

The first thing you see is the cashier’s smile, an open expanse of polished concrete flooring and colorful overhead signage to help you find what you want, quickly.

At 5,889 square feet, our newest store in Floresville, Texas, is a prime example of the large format, new-to-industry stores that will help fuel the future of our company. Corner Store’s parent company, CST Brands, has built 129 new stores in the United States and Canada since 2009 and plans to build another 50 to 55 in 2015.

The average new-to-industry Corner Store rings up almost twice the volume of fuel and merchandise sales as a legacy store in the U.S. network. That’s due in part to the expanded food offerings in our larger stores, most of them signature products baked fresh in our in-store kitchens.

We put a lot of thought into the architecture and layout of the new stores so that customers can get in and out quickly. The interior is colorful and the open design allows for easy navigation. Natural light pours in through large windows, and the smell of freshly baked products emanates from our ovens.

Come on In

As you walk through the door, you will see lunch-counter seating, often filled with customers taking a lunch break or working on a laptop. Keep going left and you will find our coffee bar filled with premium Cibolo Mountain coffees and flavored creamers to accent your coffee just the way you like it.

In the bakery case, there’s plenty of temptation to go around, including fresh-baked doughnuts, pastries and, one of our most popular treats, the whoopie pie. A moist cake filled with a variety of icings, the whoopie pie lends itself to fun flavor combinations such as chocolate sriracha and pumpkin spice.

Our go-to breakfast item is the fresh-baked kolache, sweet bread wrapped around fillings such as a spicy link or breakfast sausage.

We also whip up another breakfast specialty: our breakfast tacos, which can be filled with a wide choice of items and wrapped in a homemade tortilla.

When lunchtime rolls around in Floresville, we put out quite a spread, including fried chicken, savory empanadas and freshly prepared fajitas. On the roller grill, we have grilled sausages and all-beef, never-frozen hot dogs with white or wheat buns, and a new buffalo chicken roll.

After winning the Green Chile Cook Off at the Hatch Chile Festival in New Mexico last year, we’ve gone Hatch happy. We now offer Hatch green chile, egg and cheese kolaches, as well as empanadas filled with smoked turkey, slow-roasted Hatch green chile and cheddar cheese.

If there is a running theme here, it is that fresh food and expanded grocery offerings are an important focus at our new larger Corner Store locations. They allow us to stand out in a very competitive c-store and QSR market. For those seeking healthier options at the Floresville store, we have freshly made salads, wraps, sandwiches, fresh fruit and other healthy offerings. If you need a snack, it’s hard to beat our variety of chips, locally made beef jerky and an assortment of old-fashioned pickled eggs, jams and other local favorites.

If you’re looking for a cold or frozen drink, we are all about flavor choices. In the cold vault, which includes eight inviting doors, we have national and local brands of water, cold coffee, sodas and energy and sport drinks, including our own brands, UForce Sport and Energy drinks. We also have a f ’real milkshake station, an ICEE machine with new flavor choices of Piña Colada and Jolly Rancher Cherry, and two Coca-Cola Freestyle machines that offer more than 100 possible flavor combinations.

Forgot to pick up milk? No problem. We have a plentiful selection of milk, eggs, bread and other pantry staples at extraordinarily competitive prices.

Our beer cave is a thing of beauty, especially on a hot summer day. This large, brightly lit, walk-in refrigerated space means there is always ice-cold beer in stock. We have an awesome variety of premium, import and craft beers.

Outside, the store features a Redbox and seven fueling stations with 14 fueling positions dispensing unleaded, plus, super and E85 fuel. We also have three high-speed diesel lanes with DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) and a car wash. There is ample parking around the building: 48 spaces in all, so that in every way the experience is fast, easy and convenient.

Customers First

At Corner Store, being a good neighbor in the communities we serve is important.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new store in Floresville, we invited Mayor Diana Garza to officiate, and we awarded a $2,500 grant to the local high school. Guests who visited the store walked away with free samples of Fresh Choices sausage kolaches and cookies, a free fountain drink or Cibolo Mountain Coffee and coupons.

It’s important to note something we have adopted from our newly acquired Nice N Easy stores in New York: At Corner Store locations, we strive to “Be Nice, Have Fun, Sell Stuff and Be the Best.”

Our focus on the stores and the customers come from the top. Our CEO, Kim Lubel, asks all office employees to spend two days working in the stores—five days for the executive leadership team—to truly appreciate the hard work it takes to run a busy store that always puts delighting its customers first.

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