|New RaceTrac in Acworth, Georgia|
Atlanta-based RaceTrac is looking to keep pace with its chief rival, Tulsa,Oklahoma-based QuikTrip in launching next genration locations in metro Atlanta. As I mentioned earlier this month, QuikTrip is opening of a number of "Gen 3" locations in metro Atlanta this year including a new station at Buford Highway and I285 just inside the perimeter, and another at the intersection of Clairmont and Briarcliff Roads. Atlanta is QuikTrip's largest market, in which it currently operates more than 120 locations. RaceTrac operates about 70 locations, but nearly all of them are OTP, whereas many of QT's locations are intown.
As you can see from the photo above, the new RaceTrac looks less like a gas station, and more like a fast casual eatery. The station features a front entrance as well as a side entrance, and stacked stone columns on a brick building with outdoor seating and free Wi-Fi. Overall, the location is about 20% bigger than a typical RaceTrac.
RaceTrac opened the first of its next generation locations a few weeks ago in Acworth and I recently made the trek (way) OTP to check it out. First off, for a gas station, the restrooms are among the cleanest and largest I've ever seen. I'm kind of a details person and this was a big plus. Additionally, RaceTrac added frozen yogurt to the new store, featuring 10 flavors and over three dozen topping options. It's worth noting that the yogurt they use is YoCream, the same yogurt that Menchie's serves. I became familiar with YoCream after seeing their exhibit at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) convention in 2010 so perhaps it was then that RaceTrac began to get this program started. RaceTrac provides its yogurt in a self serve setting at 39 cents per ounce compared to Menchie's at 44 cents.
|Frozen Yogurt bar inside new RaceTrac|
Another addition to this RaceTrac was an expanded beer and wine assortment including what was referred to as the "beer cave." The "beer cave" is a separate refrigerated room accessed via sliding glass doors with a wider variety of beer and wine and some sizing options one might not normally find in a convenience store where space is always an issue. Overall the rooms houses some 50 or so brands of mostly beer options.
Also, RaceTrac has enhanced their hot beverage offerings with multiple coffee stations as well as teas and hot chocolate. Overall, the company added six new blends with premium Arabica beans. The new varieties are not only available at the new location, but were also launched in stores throughout the company's seven markets. RaceTrac's new coffee lineup includes regular, dark roast, decaf, extra caffeinated, 100 percent Colombian and hazelnut.
In March, another newly designed RaceTrac will open near the intersection of South Cobb Drive and the East-West Connector on the site of a former Home Depot Landscape Supply store, and will be followed by a new location in Dawsonville near the North Georgia Premium Outlets. Late this summer, RaceTrac will open another next generation store in Tucker at the intersection of Northlake Parkway and Lawrenceville Highway.
Years ago, RaceTrac had a location at the corner of Montreal Drive and Lawrenceville Highway but it closed, then became another gas station, and has since been leveled. It was about a mile from where the new location will be built in Tucker, but sat on a very small parcel of land. No doubt purposefully, there is an existing QuikTrip less a minute from the upcoming RaceTrac.
What do you think of the new features and items being introduced by both QuikTrip and RaceTrac? Are you looking forward to both new store types opening near you or are you a little freaked out by the breadth of products & services each is carrying? Who's your favorite, QuikTrip or RaceTrac? Or do you just go to the cheapest station? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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