What would Richard
Branson do with convenience?
With generic convenience stores eemingly on every corner, the easiest thing for customers to do is head to the location
that’s … just convenient. Many C-store
chains aim to stand apart from the
crowd by ramping up the sophistication
of their in-store environments. They
are making stores larger, stocking them
with healthier, fresher food, and adding
modern dining furnishings.
It’s a nice start, but in contemplat-
ing the C-store of the future, design-
ers need to imagine a world in which
consumers pay greater attention to the
brand attributes, product offerings,
How would innovators in other sec-
tors approach the challenge? As the
former head of store design for Virgin
Megastores, I can’t help but contem-
plate how Virgin founder Richard
Branson might approach a portfolio
of fueling station and C-store sites.
Ideas from an innovator
Branson is an innovator to the core.
Since the retail gas industry is already
mature, Branson’s business-centric
inclination would be to jump to the
head of the line. Forget about fossil
fuels; Branson’s Virgin stations would
sell electricity, natural gas, and bio-
diesel for green vehicles. His goal would
be to create focal points for the growing
community of drivers who see environ-
mental sustainability as a top priority.
His marketing, advertising, and brand-
ing for the chain would build loyalty
and community around this shared
In addition to sustainability, Bran-
son’s brand would make its mark by
evolving the customer experience.
Today, Sheetz has such a substan-
By Anthony Deen
Station canopies of the future will use OLED and fiberoptic illumination systems to transmit daylight.