02.01.16 Monday
What Downstream Lenders Should Know about Regional Differences in Convenience
By: P. A. (Andy) Weber III
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Convenience Stores are a major part of the Downstream Energy Pipeline, and with oil prices at a halt, lenders should be looking at what makes convenience stores stand apart and find success. Some might be tempted to think that once you’ve seen one convenience store, you’ve seen them all.

At Corner Capital, we know that that’s simply not true. Our experienced team has worked in various subsets of the energy industry throughout the United States and we know that convenience is defined differently in different regions. Below are some of the regional differences that are of interest to potential lenders.

Northwest- Locally Focused

Some trends are national, but the push toward locally produced items seems to be the biggest in Northwestern States such as Oregon and Washington. New and established convenience ventures there are finding greater success when they form partnerships with local vendors. Northwesterners value community and will drive an extra couple blocks to support their local economy.

Texas- Bigger is Better

Not surprisingly, Texas convenience stores see the most success when they provide people with bigger, better locations. When Bucc-ees opened their largest location to date in 2012, they got renewed patronage from hundreds of thousands of customers. Their unique bathrooms were a small part of the draw, but most people were there to gawk at the 60+ gas pumps, and one of the largest convenience spaces in existence. To some, size matters.

California- Fresh is Best

With California’s health savvy and fast-paced entrepreneurial culture, successful convenience chains have to provide fast, healthy convenience foods. This can be accomplished by providing more prepared produce and low-cal diet foods. Chains that embrace the “California Lifestyle” are much more likely to see increase in revenue in 2016.

When lenders pay attention to regional trends, they can identify chains that are more prone to success. They can also identify and address chains that aren’t following trends and use that knowledge to their advantage.

At Corner Capital, we know what trends are working in what markets. We can help c-store chains successfully follow these trends, and we can help lenders identify sound investments. If you’re looking for a team with well-rounded knowledge of all facets of Downstream Energy, contact Corner Capital today.

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-Jim Kolkhorst, Kolkhorst Petroleum & Rattlers Convenience Stores, Texas
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