Atlanta-based RaceTrac and Tulsa,Oklahoma-based QuikTrip are both adding new, next genration locations in the metro area.
RaceTrac, which had a 75 year head start building out its network of locations in Atlanta, is finally getting closer to the prized ITP locations that QT has monopolized for years. More after the jump.
|Next Generation RaceTrac|
I visted a new RaceTrac in Acworth this past January and then a new QuikTrip in Doraville this past April. Both stores offer a wider variety of food options than their typical respective stores, and as a result, are larger in square footage. QuikTrip offers soft serve ice cream, whereas RaceTrac offers a frozen yogurt product from Portland-based YoCream (a division of Dannon), the same company that supplies Yogli Mogli and Menchie's, among others. Both stores feature various coffee options and an enhanced coffee station for add-ins. Both stores also offer a wider variety of food options such as sandwiches and pizzas. I wouldn't say there is a clear winner between the two, but they sure to make it tough on BP and others that have stumbled with their food options.
BP's Wild Bean Cafe/BP Connect concepts were removed from all metro area locations in early 2008, and replaced with the ampm branding. Ampm was started in early 1970 in California and was brought to Atlanta by way of eventual owner BP. BP and Shell are among the largest multi-national oil companies represented in Atlanta.
In April, RaceTrac opened another new location, this on the East West Connector, not far from the company's Cumberland headquarters. Another location, planned for Spring Road and said to be the company's flagship, is still in limbo, pending neighborhood approval.
QuikTrip, meanwhile, opened new locations in Suwanee and Doraville and has others in development, including one in College Park and another at Clairmont and Briarcliff Roads.
RaceTrac is fast at work expanding it metro presence with the (planned) additions of a new location at Northlake Parkway and Lawrenceville Highway and another on Lawrenceville Highway near North DeKalb Mall. The location near Northlake Parkway just started to show signs of progress, evidenced by the fact that the two existing structures (a former Pike Family Nurseries and Starvin Marvin gas station) were both demolished. A RaceTrac representative tells me the new location is currently scheduled to open November 21st.
The proposed location near North DeKalb Mall, on the other hand, is being met with fierce neighborhood opposition. Many neighbors are calling on RaceTrac to rethink their placement and look elsewhere for a new location. Interestingly, one location many neighbors have suggested is a former Shoney's restaurant site that burned down a few years ago. RaceTrac is building another new location on Wesley Chapel Road in Decatur on the site of a former Shoney's along with an adjacent parcel, something the Lawrenceville Highway location does not offer.
Both proposed RaceTrac locations on Lawrenceville Highway are basically across the street from existing QuikTrip locations. The Northlake Parkway location is making use of dilapidated structures on commercial land, whereas the North DeKalb parcel is currently just an empty piece of greenspace, close to single family homes.
QT is well underway with its new 16-pump Gen 3 location at the corner of Briarcliff and Clairmont Roads, just off I-85. The new QT is opening on land previously home to a rundown grocery store most recently known as Food Universe. Currently, I'm told QT hopes to have it's new location open by late September.
|Gen 3 QuikTrip|
While RaceTrac and QuikTrip duke it out in Atlanta for petroleum powerhouse, two noteworthy competitors are getting closer to (a possible) entry into Georgia.
Altoona, Pennsylvania-based Sheetz and Wawa, Pennsylvania-based Wawa are both expanding further south, adding new locations in North Carolina and Florida respectively.
Bob Sheetz founded Sheetz in 1952 and the chain is still owned and operated by the Sheetz family but its store count has ballooned to over 450 locations across six states.
Grahame Wood founded Wawa in 1964 and today the company has nearly 600 locations across five states. The company once had locations in New York and Connecticut but abandoned those markets in the late 90s, citing their overly competitive landscape.
Like QuikTrip and RaceTrac, and even Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, both Sheetz and Wawa are privately owned and both still have original founding family members involved in the business.
Where is your favorite place to fill up? Do you go out of your way to go to a certain brand or a certain location? Do you think WaWa and Sheetz will enter Atlanta sooner rather than later?