The Convenience Store Transformation

Are convenience stores on the right track?

Gas stations as gourmet destinations?

It's an unlikely culinary revolution, but Slim Jims are making way for sushi as convenience stores transform themselves with upscale eats and shed their image as junk food pit stops.

It's an attempt by the industry to discourage the gas-up-and-go mentality and bolster the bottom line with artisanal cheeses, freshly baked breads and high-end meals that entice consumers to linger and eat — and to do it often.

"We're trying to make these stores destinations rather than convenience stops," said Stuart Lowry, marketing director for The Markets of Tiger Fuel, a Virginia convenience chain that offers fresh seafood, a fancy deli and professional chefs.

I think it's a good strategy for them to cater to a broader market. But I'm not sure about adding a dining area. If I told Mrs. Businesspundit we were going to the 7-11 for dinner, I would probably be eating alone.

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