A convenience store is a small store or shop, generally accessible or local.
They are often located alongside busy roads, or at gas/petrol stations. This can
take the form of gas stations supplementing their income with retail outlets, or
convenience stores adding gas to the list of goods on offer. Railway stations
also often have a convenience store.
Goods on offer
Sometimes abbreviated to c-store, various
types exist, for example; liquor stores (off-licences - offies), mini-markets
(mini-marts) or party stores. Typically junk food (candy, ice-cream, soft
drinks), lottery tickets, newspapers and magazines are sold. Unless the outlet
is a liquor store, the range of alcohol beverages is likely to be limited (i.e.
beer and wine) or non-existent. Varying degrees of food supplies are usually
available, from household products, to prepackaged foods like sandwiches and
frozen burritos. Motoring items such as motor oil, maps and car kit may be sold.
Often toiletries and other hygiene products are stocked,as well as pantyhose and
contraception. Some of these stores also sell money orders and wire transfer
In some countries, convenience stores usually have a hot food counter, with
chicken pieces, breakfast food and many other items. Often there is an in-store
bakery - throughout Europe these now sell fresh French bread (or similar). A
process of freezing part-baked bread allows easy shipment (often from France)
and baking in-store. A delicatessen counter is also popular, offering
custom-made sandwiches and baguettes. Some stores have a self-service microwave
oven for heating purchased food.
Convenience stores may be combined with other services,
such as a train station ticket counter or a post office counter.
Differences from supermarkets
Size is the main difference, although larger newer
convenience stores have quite a broad range of items. Prices in a convenience
store are typically higher than at a supermarket, mass merchandise store, or
auto supply store. In the United States, the stores will sometimes be the only
stores and services near an interstate highway exit where drivers can buy any
kind of food or drink for miles. Most of the profit margin from these stores
comes from beer, liquor, and cigarettes.
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