Entrepreneurship is in Dani Cone’s blood. Her three stores, each under the Cone & Steiner banner, are based on a store of the same name her great-grandfather ran in Seattle 100 years ago. He also ran a used furniture business and a furs business. Her father used to run a printing company, and her mother has been a self-employed therapist for decades—and that’s just her immediate family.
As founder and CEO of Cone & Steiner, Cone has updated the old general-store model with modern-day amenities while staying true to the original feel and purpose of her great-grandfather’s business. “As hyperconnected as we can be these days, and how digitized everything is, there’s nothing that takes the place of that experience of breaking bread together,” she says.
“There’s nothing that takes the place of that experience of breaking bread together.”
The three Cone & Steiner locations, each an average of 1,800 square feet, cater to residential customers and on-the-go office workers. Cone describes her stores as a mix of modern styles with a classic undertone: “It’s like that feeling of walking into a place that looks fresh and new, yet there’s something nostalgic at the same time. Like, this is familiar, yet I’ve never been here before.”
She’s taking the classic c-store feel and literally delivering it to customers. Cone and her team manage an in-house delivery service with a $5 fee and no minimum order. The delivery radius is less than 2 miles to keep things simple. “It really runs the gamut—anything from a $5 order to a $1,500 order,” she says.
Cone isn’t stopping with delivery, though. She and her team are working on plans to open micromarkets and unstaffed stores in office buildings and hotel lobbies, both in Seattle and beyond. “The convenience store is not a brand-new model,” she says, “but we’re asking what people want conveniently these days, and where and how.
“But the store is showing that’s exactly what people want.”