From easy to involved: Planning a convenience store renovation
A well-planned renovation can take your convenience store from dated to dynamic. So if you’re going to do a renovation, it’s worth doing right. Let’s examine standard renovation opportunities, ranked according to ease and expense.
By CTM Design Services
Updating the look and feel of your convenience store can have a remarkable impact on your customer experience – and your sales. It can make the store feel cleaner and more inviting. And a well-planned renovation can take your convenience store from dated to dynamic. Best of all, it doesn’t have to break the bank.
That said, if you’re going to do a renovation it is worth doing right. Let’s examine some standard renovation opportunities, ranked according to ease and out-of-pocket expense.
But first, why are you renovating?
Is it mainly cosmetic? Or is it to expand your service offering? If it’s to refresh the look, there are a number of easy and affordable updates that require minimal effort. If you’re introducing new services, the cost may be a little more substantial. However, new services mean new revenue opportunities, so any costs should be viewed as an investment.
Six common renovations
1. Walls and signage
Difficulty: Easy |Cost: $ – $$
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to clean up space and make it sparkle. Yesterday’s trendy colours can be updated with more modern ones. Neutral tones will remain in style longer – but hey, paint is cheap – so don’t be afraid to go with a more contemporary palette. Feature colours can draw attention to key areas and set a mood that will appeal to customers.
Signage is another opportunity to modernize. Like colours, fonts can quickly become dated. There is a wide range of options at all price points: from vinyl decals to 3-D lettering.
2. Modernizing finishes and flooring
Difficulty: Easy to Medium | Cost: $$ – $$$
Replacing worn countertops, panels and tiling with modern finishes can instantly elevate the look of a store. Many are choosing durable and attractive vinyl flooring options – including faux stone and wood grain finishes. Often, this can be applied over an existing floor with minimal effort.
If you decide to go for Italian marble tiles and granite countertops, it won’t come cheap. Fortunately, a good interior decorator can find options that create a similar impression – at a fraction of the price.
Pro tip: Be sure to choose finishes that are contemporary, but will not feel old in five years. Select scratch and spill-resistant materials that are easy to clean.
3. Updating lighting
Difficulty: Easy to Medium | Cost: $$ to $$$
Not long ago, most convenience stores were built with overhead fluorescent lighting. It was bright, economical, and low maintenance. The downside is that fluorescent lighting is not very inviting and can be quite harsh on the eyes. Today, LED lighting is the more energy-efficient choice and can be designed to provide ample task lighting while also setting a calming mood for customers. Accent lighting can be added to draw attention to key areas within the store.
For the most part, lighting can be updated quite easily. Removing fluorescent light fixtures can be a bit involved. Replacing lighting is easier in spaces with removable ceiling panels. If the ceiling is drywalled, demolition and retexturing are required. This can be staged, to minimize disruption to customers. Pot lights provide a nice clean look but are more work to install.
4. Washroom renovation
Difficulty: Medium | Cost: $ – $$$$
If you are utilizing the existing plumbing layout (toilet and sink placement), a bathroom renovation can be quite economical. Sinks, toilets, and wall-mount urinals are relatively inexpensive, and many will reduce water consumption and lower utility costs. Touchless technologies have become the norm, but do cost more. Often, a fresh coat of paint and new hardware can make stall dividers look good as new. For an economical fix, repaint walls. For a step up, consider tile.
The higher-end your fixtures and features, the bigger the budget. For businesses located on highways, having an enticing bathroom can be the key to repeat business – so a little extra effort can go a long way.
5. Installing a gourmet coffee station
Difficulty: Easy to Challenging | Cost: $$-$$$
Coffee and hot beverage stations are a big draw for convenience stores. Many are upping their game with gourmet selections – from carafes offering a variety of blends to self-serve latte and cappuccino machines.
Building the counter and shelving is the easy part. A double sink will be required. It gets trickier (and more expensive) if plumbing needs to be rerouted. Higher-end finishes and accent lighting can put the spotlight on the coffee station, and make it a key destination for customers.
6. Adding a hot food offering
Difficulty: Medium | Cost: $$$ to $$$$
Adding hot food service is a sound strategy for attracting customers by appealing to their senses. The floorplan will need to be reconfigured to make space for the equipment, and it must be planned to make things easy for the service team. A double sink will need to be installed if there is not already one in place.
The cost of equipment – from ovens to warming racks – can add up. Yet putting in hot food service is a long-term investment in the success of the business, and is shown to quickly pay off.
Start planning your convenience store renovation today.
If your convenience store is ‘past its best-before date’ it may be time to consider a renovation!
It’s generally recommended that convenience stores renovate every 10-years. A good place to start is with some online research. Visit competitors. Note what you like and what you don’t.
If you feel like remodelling a store beyond your expertise, enlist the help of an interior designer. If you’re planning any updates that involve new electrical service and wiring, or structural changes, be sure to find an engineering and design firm that knows the convenience store business. It’s crucial to choose a reliable construction partner that can stage work to minimize disruption to customers (get recommendations and read reviews!)