How To Start a Convenience Store

Picture of cash register

The appeal to convenience stores is that they give customers the opportunity to do a quick shopping trip without having to go to a large supermarket and stand in long lines. To start a convenience store requires some knowledge and understanding of what customers in your area want.  Choose a location that you are familiar with so that you can identify where a convenience store will receive the most traffic.  Convenience stores that are placed along busy roads and highways are often most successful, yet it is important not to place a convenience store in an area that is too busy.  Overcrowded parking lots and street corners may steer customers away from coming to your convenience store.

When determining a location to start your market store, also be sure that it is away from large grocery stores and supermarkets.  You will not be able to compete in price with these larger stores and customers in turn will go to these larger retail chains for their products.  Instead, opt for a location that is out of the range of supermarkets.

You will then need to consider what types of products you are going to sell.  On average, convenience stores sell about 500 different items with four or five categories of items.  Generally convenience stores are stocked with snacks, beverages, ice cream, basic cleaning and hygienic supplies, and tobacco products.

The items you sell will be influenced by your convenience store's location.  If it is near a college campus, magazines, soda machines and snacks will be most beneficial; while basic groceries and convenient food are best for a chain store located near an apartment complex.

When you have found a space to rent, you will need to meet with an investor to discuss financial issues.  You will need initial money to rent or purchase the retail space, so taking out a loan is most useful.  You will also need to invest in such supplies as cash registers, vending machines, interior items, and stock.

To get the best prices on supplies, you will need to carefully choose reputable suppliers.  Opt to join an association where grocery store owners can take advantage of buying supplies at wholesale prices.

You will need to give careful thought to how you are going to price your items.  You want to price them slightly higher than what they would cost at a large supermarket because this is how convenience stores make their profits.  With every purchase, customers pay a bit extra for the convenience factor.  However, you do not want to price products so high that customers won’t pay the additional cost.  A good place to start is to mark the products up a bit higher than at a supermarket, yet lower than the prices they'd find at a local gas station.  Online courses in business will help you further understand how to set your price points.


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