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Food Broker News

Shopping Local at C-Stores

Stocking Local Products Boost Business for C-Stores

graphic recommending shop locally

ith the rise of delivery apps, shopping local has become a huge topic of conversation in the food and c-store business.  Convenience stores have always had to adapt to new trends, and the continued emphasis on local products is no different.

More customers are interested in shopping small.  Customers are thinking critically about where they're shopping, and to whom that money goes.

Shopping Local

Due to this emphasis on locally sourced products, the eye is on c-stores to start stepping up and defining their place in the community.  To customers, it's important that the quality and price are up to their standards. They're also concerned with the impact their money has on their local economy.

They want to vote with their dollars, and many are thinking that that vote should go toward their community.

All of this puts c-stores in a great position to start shelving more local products.  Doing so can improve their reputation within their respective communities.  Small businesses have an advantage over larger chains in that by banding together, they can create large profits for one another.

These benefits can occur without having to deal with the difficulties of getting onto the shelves at big brand stores.  This keeps money within the community, rather than large brands taking a cut.

There's also local knowledge and expertise to factor in as well.  First, people will be more knowledgeable about the source of their food.  Second, c-store owners and operators will be more in tune with their community's needs and can support them directly.

Virtually any item that can be home-grown or homemade, c-stores can create a market for.  Local farms especially can be a great source of butter, eggs, and milk.

Many other dairy and egg products, such as yogurt and cream can also be sold.  Towns and cities with butchers as well can partner with c-stores, selling fresh and dried meat products.

Increasing a c-store's product line enhances the relationship with the community.  In doing so, it gives consumers more options.  For communities with high levels of food insecurity or significant populations without access to a larger grocer, this is especially important.

And c-stores can use seasonal items and events too.  Selling local arts and crafts for holidays and fundraisers is a prime way of expanding a product line.

This can involve local and regional charity drives, school fundraisers, and local and national holidays.  This can also make c-stores a place for more than small grocery visits.

More customers are interested in shopping small.  Customers are thinking critically about where they're shopping, and to whom that money goes. 

For years now, the public has become more conscious about the foods they eat and where they come from.  Many have touted the benefits of eating local foods.

Most notably,  they're fresher, as big grocery chains have their produce shipped nationally. Locally sourced products don't have to be transported nearly as far and can be on shelves quicker.

By stocking local and fresh produce in a c-store, it speaks to their involvement and investment in the community.  It supports fellow small businesses and gives people the opportunity to have healthier foods.

Stimulating the Local Economy

“When profits stay local, it increases the community’s wealth, tax revenue and standard of living,” said Dr. Sue Lynn Sasser, a professor of economics at the University of Central Oklahoma.

As people start venturing out more and temperatures rise, c-stores have developed a newfound importance.  C-stores that open a marketplace and seating for grab-and-go sandwiches and other snacks can evolve into hang-out spots for people to relax and catch up with neighbors and friends.

C-stores also have a unique opportunity to become staples of a community in the way larger grocer retailers may have difficulty. Although print magazines and newspapers have taken a downturn over the years with digital, there's still a market for local news. Stocking the local high school, college, or city paper and magazines can be a way of fostering a connection with the local residents.

The c-store isn't just the place where they get their snacks or pick up eggs on the way home, but a source of their information.

Stores in locations where there are local artisans and farmers are at a significant advantage.  Developing a business partnership with locals is one of the best ways that c-stores can expand their local product lines.

This could even go so far as partnering with the nearby farmer's market. The community will regard the c-store as a place for farmer's market goods any day.  A similar set up where people are encouraged to find items that suit their needs and see exactly where in the community that item is coming from can also work.

This cements the store as not only a destination for snacks and other common items.  It becomes a community hub, a place where local residents can gather and spend time together.


C-stores operate in a unique position where they can take advantage of both local and national brands.  By emphasizing their commitment to the communities they serve, they can develop business relationships with other store owners.  And as c-store owners keep up with the trends and develop a broader stake in the community, they can increase their profits.

Shopping local is one of the foremost topics facing the c-store industry.  With the knowledge from this article, many more can develop their own strategies to strengthen their business model.

June 17, 2022