Farm Stores goes big with tiny eco-friendly drive-thrus
A regional Florida convenience store called Farm Stores has a big East Coast expansion on the way. The chain is unique not only because of how customers visit the store, but also because of the materials used to make some of the stores themselves.
Farm Stores is a drive-thru convenience store chain that first opened in 1957 and became a franchise in 2015, according to CNN. Many of its locations are now made of repurposed shipping containers, a strategy that the chain is continuing as a franchisee opens the latest new location in Louisiana. Farm Stores are already under construction in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, with plans for 600 to open within the next seven years — most of them constructed from shipping containers as local building codes permit. The chain currently has 65 locations in Florida.
As a small, drive-thru only convenience store that sells fresh baked goods, farm-fresh dairy and vegetables as well as household staples, the expansion of Farm Stores could be coming at just the right time to meet a couple of different trends.
Farm Stores’ recycled, eco-friendly artifices may appeal to Millennials and Gen Z shoppers who want to see businesses they patronize demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.
The method of construction does, however, also benefit the business. The strategy makes opening new stores 40 percent cheaper than building them from the ground up, according to CNN.
The focus on convenient and fresh groceries also promises to play well with Millennial and Gen Z shopping cohorts.
In the farther-off future, were fully autonomous vehicles to replace human-piloted automobiles on the roads, conveniently-placed drive-thru convenience stores could play a significant role for commuters. This could be especially true were vehicles to become integrated with smart home technology and receive messages about products running low in a smart refrigerator.
While Farm Stores may be unique in being a drive-thru chain, others in the convenience store space have been working on small concepts that get healthy food to customers with less friction.
Wawa, for instance, is testing a small concept in Philadelphia with a walk-up window for app-based ordering.
- These drive-thru convenience stores are made out of recycled shipping containers – CNN
- Will a healthier Wawa be a more successful Wawa? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How likely is it that Farm Stores will become a major player in the convenience store/green grocery space in the next five years? Will the sustainable/recycled building materials have much impact on the chain’s appeal, and how might Farm Stores leverage that with an environmentally aware customer base?