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Sheetz, the Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain, has opened its first “convenience restaurant,” a 10,000-square-foot store that the company describes as a “food theater” that combines casual dining and traditional c-store features.

The unit is the company’s 300th, has both dine-in and drive-thru options, and features foods that include pizza, paninis, sub sandwiches, espresso bar and salad bar. It also has wireless Internet access, DVD rental and five large-screen television sets.
KC's View:
As much as traditional supermarket retailers worry about the competition coming from the likes of Wal-Mart, we think that the convenience store industry is an equally huge threat…and the Sheetz store is a perfect example of the direction being taken by this segment of the business.

Remarkably, the unit came out of a desire by owner Steve Sheetz to create a format that would put his existing stores out of business…a desire that he was very verbal and public about. He elicited opinions and ideas from his customers and employees, and this is what he came up with.

We’ve seen others in the same vein…such as The Market stores operated by Tiger Fuel down in Virginia…which are terrific units that transcend the mainstream c-store image.

And it isn’t just c-stores that the supermarket business has to worry about…