This year’s Store Design Contest winners represent a whole new class of convenience
As the convenience store industry continues to elevate its offerings, consumers are continuously raising their expectations. Some might say they’re becoming “convenience connoisseurs.”
C-store retailers, as a result, are churning out new stores that are larger than ever before, made with higher-quality materials than ever before, offer more products and services than ever before – and perhaps most importantly, tap into the spoken and unspoken desires of customers.
The winners of this year’s Convenience Store News Store Design Contest reinvent the corner store and redefine what a c-store should be. From Bolla Market’s marble bathrooms, wood-grain gondolas and black tile flooring, to Wawa’s “fresh and inviting” point of view, to Jubitz Travel Center’s ability to bring the natural outdoor beauty of Oregon inside, these award-winning designs are sure to please even the most discerning convenience connoisseur.
The CSNews design awards, now in their eighth year, honor convenience retailers who have created the most exciting, innovative and shopper-friendly looks for their stores. Entries are judged on innovation, creativity and the positive impact of the overall design on the business.
Here, we highlight the winners and honorable mentions for Best Original Store Design (a new build), Best Interior Design (also a new build), Sky’s the Limit Remodel (more than $250,000), Best Mid-Budget Remodel ($100,000 to $250,000) and Best Low-Cost Remodel (less than $100,000).
The winners in specialty categories, such as Best Exterior Design and Best Fountain Presentation, will be featured in the October issue of Convenience Store News.
Best Original Store Design
Honorable Mention: Wawa
Already deeply entrenched in the Mid-Atlantic market, Pennsylvania-based Wawa Inc. approached design firm CBX in 2009 for help in writing the next chapter in the convenience store chain’s story – expansion into a new market for the first time in its 200-year history.
Wawa’s plans to enter Florida, specifically the Orlando and Tampa areas, served as a catalyst for it to reexamine its brand equity not only for the Sunshine State, but also in its core market.
CBX was called upon to help the retailer figure out how to successfully evolve the “fresh and inviting” essence and personality of the Wawa brand to be relevant in the new market, while at the same time taking a synergistic approach in its core market to ensure brand consistency.
Wawa’s new store design was developed by staying true to the overarching point-of-view of “fresh and inviting.” After exploring how far it could stretch the unique customer experience on both an emotional and functional spectrum, the concept of “residential” was chosen.
The residential design utilizes familiar architecture for the exterior, evoking the feeling of home by using a creamy, soft color palette and natural finishes. For the interior, natural light, high ceilings, architectural detailing and rich textures are used to harmoniously tie back to the exterior.
The new concept also positions Wawa as a food destination rather than just another c-store through the use of “fresh cues.” Natural materials, warm colors and ties to the kitchen bring a sense of freshness to the interior. In addition, the visible food preparation area, coffee section, fresh baked goods and walk-in refreshment cooler further speak to the concept of communal kitchen.
Wawa’s first Florida store sporting this design debuted in Orlando on July 18, 2012.
Best Low-Cost Remodel, Honorable Mention
Owner: Organizacíon Terpel
It was a collaboration that transcended continents, with the common goal being to create a compelling design that Bogota, Colombia-based Organización Terpel could implement for the next 10 years. Working with New York-based design firm CBX, Terpel was able to create a fresh new look, from its corporate logo to the architecture of its retail locations.
“Our role was to reinforce Terpel’s ongoing commitment to providing quality products and services, but with a new view toward being one of Colombia’s most innovative and forward-thinking companies,” said Joseph Bona, president of branded environments at CBX. “We examined the entire customer journey experience, from the curb to the pump and convenience store, to the car wash and lube bay. Equally important while designing the new ground-up prototype, we also developed a ‘retrofittable’ design approach for adaptation to [its] existing portfolio of facilities.”
CBX’s design and strategy teams worked closely with Asburn, Va.-based The Murphy Group LLC, which independently consulted Terpel on business strategies. The collaborative result is a modern and low-cost solution to remodel Terpel’s retail network, which includes 1,460 service stations, 28 supply plants and operations in 20 Colombian airports.
The outdoor station upgrades include a reinvented canopy, LED lighting, a pylon and fuel island, as well as a high-tech car wash that can clean a car in 3.5 minutes.
Inside, Terpel is rolling out four convenience store formats – alto, toque, altoque and deuna – each with “impeccable restrooms” and their own amenities. Descriptions for altoque and deuna stores are not yet available, but according to Terpel’s corporate website, alto stores currently offer customers “the best traditional Colombian food, snacks, refreshing beverages and sweets,” as well as Wi-Fi and ATMs. At toque stores, customers will be able to use Skype while touchscreen ordering beverages, snacks and coffee.
Terpel’s new design debuted in January. As of June, the company had remodeled 27 stations. Its first complete site with a new c-store, canopy, lube bay and car wash is expected to open this year.
Best Original Store Design
Owner: NOCO Inc.
Designer: Paragon Solutions Inc., TRM Architects
Best Original Store Design, Honorable Mention
Owner: Wawa Inc.
Best Interior Design
Harris County, Texas
Owner: CST Brands Inc.
Designer: Antista Fairclough
Best Interior Design, Honorable Mention
Owner: Bolla Management Corp.
Sky’s the Limit Remodel
Jubitz Travel Center
Owner: Jubitz Corp.
Designer: Paragon Solutions Inc.
Sky’s the Limit Remodel, Honorable Mention
Owner: Holmes Oil Co.
Designer: Paragon Solutions Inc.
Best Mid-Budget Remodel
Owner: High’s of Baltimore LLC
Designer: L2M Architects
Best Mid-Budget Remodel, Honorable Mention
Rio do Sul and Curitiba, Brazil
Owner: Idaza Distribuidora de Petróleo
Designer: Gabriela Cervi, Gge Design
Best Low-Cost Remodel
Owner: Atlas Oil Co.
Designer: Xcel Construction, Paragon Solutions Inc., GSP Marketing