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Oklahoma convenience store chains growing

Three operators building larger stores and more of them
July 11, 2017

By: Molly M. Fleming The Journal Record July 10, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – Stillwater-based OnCue Express is expanding its store size, with seven larger stores already planned and more on the horizon.
The company’s existing stores measure 6,650 square feet. The next generation will measure 8,450 square feet.
“We will have some new features,” said Jim Griffith, CEO. “We just needed a little more space. We’re adding safe rooms so when bad weather hits, our employees will be safe. Our stores have lactation rooms so our nursing mothers have a place to go.”
He said not all the new stores will have lactation rooms. Women who need the space will be temporarily moved to those stores.
Griffith said he’s expecting to close on more sites this week, so there will be more than seven stores in the pipeline.
The store at Interstate 35 and E. 15th Street in Edmond will open in August. Construction on a store at SW 104th Street and S. Santa Fe Avenue in Oklahoma City will start in October. It will be one of the new, larger models, Griffith said.
“We’re very happy with the Oklahoma City market,” he said. “The entire metro’s been good to us. We put out a first-class facility that’s clean and safe. We can’t wait to build a few more.”
The company could also take its stores outside state lines in the next few years, he said.
While OnCue is focused on the metro, Oklahoma City-based Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores is filling in sites for its customers in rural Oklahoma.
Love’s Vice President of Real Estate and Development Rick Shuffield said that the company has noticed a traffic increase in several parts of the state, but there’s another reason for its new stores. While the company had several stores in the state, it needed to expand its network across the country. In the last couple of years, Love’s has filled in gaps between its stores. There was once a 200-mile stretch between some locations, but now it’s down to 100 miles.
Oklahoma cities in the Love’s pipeline include Randlett, Wynnewood, Okmulgee, and El Reno. Big Cabin is on the list, but it will be another year before the work starts there, Shuffield said.
Stores have been opened in El Reno, Okmulgee, Valiant, and Union City.
Shuffield said El Reno is an example of meeting customer demand. While the site isn’t far from the Hinton or Morgan Road stores, the El Reno store will be larger. Love’s smaller footprint is about 4,000 square feet with one restaurant concept. The El Reno store will measure 12,000 square feet with multiple restaurants, showers, and a tire and mechanical shop.
The company started 2016 by opening a new store in Texhoma, less than a mile from the Texas state line.
Tulsa-based QuikTrip has Texas-sized plans for two major metropolitan areas, Austin and San Antonio. QT will initially build 100 stores in the two cities. Company spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said the company will not have to build a new distribution center to accommodate this expansion because there is a large center in Dallas.
It takes about four months to build one store, he said.
“We’re beginning the permitting and application process now,” he said. “We’ll begin construction this winter in both markets. We’ll have at least one store opened by next summer in both markets.”
The company operates 758 stores, with 77 locations in the Tulsa market. A new store will open in Tulsa next month.
Oklahoma City-based 7-Eleven declined The Journal Record’s request for an interview but said in an emailed statement that the company has an ongoing effort underway to update the interior and exterior layouts of its stores.

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