The new Alltown Fresh concept fills a void in the c-store space, with fresh, healthy meals that cater to a range of alternative diets, plus bean-to-cup coffee, electric vehicle charging stations and more.
By Erin Del Conte, Senior Editor
Global Partners LP’s new Alltown Fresh location in Plymouth, Mass. focuses on providing fresh, healthy made-to-order food that caters to the range of alternative diets customers embrace today. The c-store conglomerate plans to grow the concept with more stores in 2019.
Global Partners supplies fuel to more than 1,600 locations and currently owns and operates 300 c-stores of various banners, including 74 COCO Alltown sites, all of which are located throughout New England in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.
As a health-enthusiast and label-reader, Eric Slifka, CEO of Global Partners LP, believed the convenience store industry was missing a key opportunity to better serve the health-conscious consumer and tap into a growing demand for healthy products. He wanted to reach that consumer demographic while simultaneously creating a store with a unique edge.
Enter Alltown Fresh, which Slifka describes as “more of a marketplace than a convenience store” with a real kitchen and made-to-order offerings.
The Alltown Fresh concept store opened its doors in January, wowing customers with fresh food choices, bean-to-cup coffee, electric vehicle charging stations and more. “We want to make sure our guests feel like they can stop into this convenience marketplace and get healthy, clean, natural, organic, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, locally-sourced food items,” Slifka said. “We’re trying to appeal to those who have historically felt like they haven’t been served by the marketplace.”
Alltown Fresh spans 4,800-square-feet and is situated at 22 Long Pond Road in Plymouth. The main way the Alltown Fresh concept differs from legacy Alltown locations comes down to the made-to-order restaurant-style food offerings. In addition to healthy, fresh foods, Alltown Fresh provides healthy snacks with clean ingredients alongside traditional convenience items.
CLEAN & LOCAL
The Alltown Fresh menu boasts made-to-order fresh options to accommodate a range of dietary preferences. Breakfast options include the Clean Green breakfast sandwich made with cage-free egg or tofu, baby spinach, fresh avocado, chia seeds, Himalayan sea salt on a choice of bread.
Customers can select from wholesome sandwiches like the Veggie Palooza sandwich—made with fresh avocado, shredded purple cabbage, shredded carrots, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomatoes, red onions, garlic hummus and pesto; and protein bowls like the Teriyaki Tease bowl, which includes steak strips, roasted broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, shredded carrots and three-grain brown rice blend in a teriyaki sauce.
Beverage options include fresh-made smoothies, kombucha on tap from Vermont- based Aqua ViTea; and organic, non-GMO soda alternatives from Tractor Beverage Co.
Customers can also substitute to suit dietary needs, including adding vegan cheese or plant-based milks.
Alltown added bean-to-cup coffee Swiss Made coffee machines that press beans under five bars of pressure. Customers can select the organic or fair-trade coffee of their choice and the beans are ground at the time of selection, making for an extremely fresh cup of coffee. The beans are locally-roasted in Connecticut and coffee is available hot or iced.
Staying true to local and fresh throughout every aspect of the store is a key consideration.
Indoor and outdoor (as weather permits) seating encourages guests to stay a while.
COMPANIONS WITH PAWS
Furry travel companions are considered too. A pet relief area provides water and a chance for pets to stretch their legs after long car rides.
“If somebody’s sitting down outside and eating, they can attach their pet’s leash to a hook to keep their pet nearby. We really tried to be very thoughtful about every detail to make sure that a guest that’s traveling in the car with a family and kids or just with their pet has a place to stop. You don’t have to worry about leaving the dog in a hot car,” Slifka said.
Alltown Fresh also offers four electric vehicle (EV) chargers —two at 150kW and two at 350kW—through a partnership with Electrify America. It’s the second location in Massachusetts to offer direct-current fast chargers (DCFC) at 350kW.
“Today that’s the fastest commercialized public charging station available,” Slifka said. It’s seven times faster than most of today’s DC chargers. “It will take about 20 minutes to get an 80% charge for a 300-mile car with the 350kW charger. So customers can come into the restaurant and have a seat, or even sit outside and enjoy their time and take a break while they’re waiting on their vehicles to be charged.”
EV charging seemed an ideal fit, because not only is the c-store situated off a busy highway, but its target market of heath-conscious consumers often hold environmentally-conscious values as well.
While Slifka doesn’t have specific plans to roll out EV charging to other sites, he said it’s likely the brand will continue to move in that direction when opportunity allows.
“It depends on the site,” he added. “Up here in New England, it’s a little bit hard to find the right size properties where you can build a store with the fueling availability you want to provide and that also has space for EV charging. But where it fits and when the site is a high travel site, I’d say it’s likely you’ll see more of the electric vehicle charging on our sites.”
The Alltown Fresh at 4,800 square feet is an ideal size, Slifka said. The site includes the space to offer 12 fueling positions out front, plus three diesel fueling positions in the back to accommodate 18-wheelers. Six truck-sized parking spots allow trucks to stay over night.
Design-wise, the store incorporates both a modern style mixed with a New England farmstand feel through the use of natural wood and colors, and a chalkboard for the menu to complete the vibe.
“We wanted to feel local. When we talk with the town leaders, we want to make sure our stores fit into the town, but we also want to be distinct and different,” he said.
To further convey that local farmstand ambiance, the store offers a specific area dedicated to local goods. The items range from wines and beers to cheeses and jams.
Global Partners LP aims to expand the Alltown Fresh concept, and expects its foodservice offering to compete successfully against local restaurants.
Expansion plans are already underway. Slifka plans to roll out an additional five Alltown Fresh locations over the next 6-12 months.