BREWERTON, N.Y. -- In the six months since opening its larger, grocery-oriented convenience store in Brewerton, N.Y., Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes has found not just a prosperous new location, but a new direction that the chain anticipates emulating in future stores.
"The store has been a phenomenal success," John MacDougall, CEO and owner of the Canastota, N.Y.-based c-store chain, said. "We've learned so much in the last six months, since that store opened, that will be incorporated in future Nice N Easy [sites]."
Key among the lessons learned: Yes, consumers will accept a larger convenience store with a wider variety of grocery offerings.
"We're looking at the future and saying: Is this what people want? Do they want you to expand? Do they want you to have fresh produce? Do they want to have red meat? Do they want to have more groceries in the store so you can save them time? Do they want home-meal replacement? Do they want to get all those things done in one stop?" MacDougall said during CSP's recent Foodservice at Retail Exchange in Schaumburg, Ill.
"The answer is yes, and I can say that with complete certainty."
This education came in a serendipitous fashion; Nice N Easy opened the 6,700-square-foot store--the chain's largest--in November at the request of the town of Brewerton itself (see Related Content below for a video store tour).
"They said to us, 'We've lost our supermarket. We don't have a grocery store in the community. Our residents have to travel 5 miles just to get to a supermarket,' " MacDougall said. ' "What's the possibility of you coming into town with a Nice N Easy but giving us a bigger store. Give us a grocery store. Give us something with produce; give us something with red meat, something with a much better selection of groceries.' "
After a lot of research and study, Nice N Easy agreed to take the risk.
"The reception on the part of this community has been terrific," MacDougall said. "It has been a great lesson and something that we will take forward and do some good things with."