When fire shuttered our local Dollar General last October, Saline lost an important option for convenience store shopping on its East Michigan Avenue corridor.
The value of this thankfully temporary loss to the City of Saline may be put into perspective by looking at nationwide numbers. According to the most recent National Association of Convenience Stores and Nielsen study: "US convenience store count increased to a record 154,535 stores" in 2016.
The well-established fundamental for convenience store retailers is "quick service." That baseline hasn't changed. But it has evolved.
New considerations began to appear five or ten years ago. As Convenience Store News reported last May, c-store retailers had to start "figuring out how to give customers more 'bang for their minutes,'" matching offering-for-offering against competing alternatives "for shoppers who are still pressed for time, but unwilling to compromise on excellence.”
In addition to the summertime re-opening of a wholly refurbished Saline Dollar General in late-summer 2017, elsewhere in Eastgate, The Oaks shopping center has its Dollar Tree store. The Oaks is seeing a boom in popularity, with the Matty J's Bakery & Cafe ribbon-cutting on Saturday, August 26, and Steadfast Chiropractic set to open the doors to its new location later this year.
And, since 80.1% of convenience stores sell motor fuels, don't forget to include the c-store that's part of BP Gas Station (and car wash) on the corner of East Michigan Avenue and Potter Drive.
Closer to the city, just east of North Maple, CVS may be seen as representing the iconic American convenience store. With ample parking, a satisfying variety of brand-name products, and an appealing experience, CVS has the added benefit of being open 24 hours a day.
Collectively, these merchants clearly advance the image of Eastgate Saline as the retail corridor where residents and visitors go to "shop with a purpose."
Consumers don't need to be sold on the value of convenience store shopping. Rather, they are inherently attracted to these stores.