The Kroger Co. operates 790 convenience stores under six banners in 19 states. Kroger says its c-stores provide valuable synergies for the rapid expansion of its supermarket fuel centers. The stores offer a limited selection of Kroger private-label products, and some stores are served by Kroger distribution centers. New convenience stores range from 1,100 square feet to 5,800 square feet in size and are typically located on parcels of 1 to 2 acres. The new stores generally offer four to eight gasoline pumps, covered by a large, lighted canopy. The majority of the gasoline facilities have the latest credit-card reader technology.
The stores have begun selling some of the company’s store-branded food items under the Simple Truth banner.
The convenience stores concentrate on small- to medium-sized towns located near interstate highways. Two-thirds of the stores are located in towns with fewer than 75,000 residents.
The Kroger Co. also has 2,000 fuel-center locations, including 1,275 supermarket fuel centers and 725 convenience stores with fuel. Combined, the company sells fuel in 37 states and is the third-largest owner-operator of fuel centers in the United States. The company began selling fuel at supermarkets in 1988 and at its convenience stores in 1983.
|No. of Stores:||790|
|Average Store Size:||1,000-2,500 sq. ft.|
|Rank Last Year:||10|
|States of Operation:||Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming|
In Kroger Convenience’s Loaf ‘N Jug division, testing of a fill-in shop concept began at its store in Fountain, Colo. “We’re trying to provide that one-stop shop for the customer who’s looking for a place for that fill-in shop: fresh produce, meat, meal solutions, whether it be hot meal solutions or expanded grocery, expanded frozen,” said Art Stawski, president of Loaf ‘N Jug.
Freshness is one of the first impressions upon walking into the Colorado Springs Loaf ‘N Jug, with a large produce and meats section greeting customers as soon as they enter. The Kroger convenience store division leans on its relationship with its local supermarket sister, King Soopers, to optimize its produce assortment and assist with training employees on how to maintain the section.
Take-home sizes of cookies, snacks and grocery items serve the fill-in occasion, while six cooler doors are dedicated to frozen dinners. The store runs monthly promotions on Kroger private-label grocery items, tied into the seasons, such as a grilling promotion in the summer and a baking promotion for the winter holidays.
At the Real Time Café in the Colorado Springs Loaf ‘N Jug, pizza has a big presence, with several pies behind the bar, including a breakfast pizza. This site has a large in-store kitchen that provides room for the program and its in-store prep. Also on the menu: Chester’s Fried Chicken, breakfast sandwiches, made-to-order subs, cheeseburgers and sides.
In addition to a full cold-dispensed beverage program, the convenience divisions of Kroger have honed a mix of core blends, seasonal and limited-time-only flavors at the coffee bar. The foodservice team is attempting to bring greater uniformity in 2014 across the banners, particularly in the fountain and coffee equipment.