The old-fashioned gas station is now almost extinct.

Instead, the convenience store, often with gas pumps, has

become one of the fastest growing segments of the retail

industry. According to the 2013 National Association of

Convenience Stores/Nielsen Convenience Industry

Store Count, there were 149,220 convenience stores in

the U.S. at the end of 2012–up by 1,094 units, a 0.7% gain

and a new record.  C-store locations now account for 34.8%

of all retail outlets in this country.

Our continued growth shows that our core

offer of convenience resonates with customers,

whether a fill up, quick snack or drink or for fill-

in groceries or take-out meals for time-starved


And while the C-store industry continues to

be dominated by single-store owners (63%),

that is changing rapidly.  The fastest growing

segment is operators with 500 or more units; those

companies grew by 8.9% in 2012, compared to the 1%

gain in units operated by independents.

C-stores have certainly evolved over the last few years.

More and more are offering fresh food and many now

incorporate restaurant chains like Subway within their

footprints.  The latest innovation spreading through the

industry is the drive-thru, putting the stores in direct

competition with fast-food chains like McDonald’s and

Dunkin’ Donuts.

Unfortunately, the industry has been slow to embrace

advertising in general and TV in particular to boost sales

until now.  But that could change as larger operators start

to compete against each other in the same markets.