RaceTrac Fast Tracks Florida

Bringing more large protoype stores to Sunshine State

TAMPA, Fla. -- RaceTrac Petroleum Inc. recently opened two new stations in Pasco, Fla., in the Tampa area with 24 gasoline dispensers and 6,000-square-foot convenience stores and has two more planned for this year, reported The Tampa Tribune.

The Atlanta-based chain joins Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa Inc. and Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons Inc., as well as Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc., in the industry's Florida expansion.

"It's our new prototype store," company spokesperson Amanda Rodriguez told the newspaper. "All our new stores are going to be 6,000 square feet. They have free Wi-Fi, and they're well-lit and have nice brick exteriors."

The store offers an extensive array of grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, empanadas and fresh-baked cookies and muffins; it offers 10 flavors of brewed coffee, but it also has a dozen types of brewed ice tea, ranging from mango-peach green tea to hibiscus to pomegranate. There are a dozen flavors of frozen carbonated drinks and a dozen more frozen smoothie options.

Another feature is the self-serve frozen yogurt. Customers make their own sundaes and pay by the ounce. Each store carries 10 flavors, with a toppings bar that has 40 choices of fruits and candies.

"The convenience store has evolved," Ned Bowman, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, told the paper. "The fastest growth area of the convenience store industry is foodservice."

The new style convenience store is a direct response to economic realities and Americans' changing shopping habits, said the report. The stores are designed to appeal to specific customer bases: professionals, families with children, women and browsers.

The target customers are women and families with children who are looking for an inexpensive treat. "It's a trend," Bowman said. "You have two people working and families always on the go. They've really grown into the neighborhood store."

Each new store employs 20 people, and RaceTrac has opened 80 in the past three years. The privately held company operates approximately 300 retail gasoline convenience stores in seven metro markets, including Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Dallas, Miami, New Orleans, and Orlando. The company recently added new stores in Jacksonville as part of its Florida expansion. It also has more than 300 RaceWay locations.

Click here to view the full Tampa Tribune report.