Your Friendly, Neighborhood Convenience Store
It happens every morning. Like clockwork, in large metropolises, small towns, rural hamlets, and all places in-between, ordinary folks come together before they start their day to talk, laugh, argue…
…and drink lots of coffee.
The conversation may incorporate sports, the weather, politics, local gossip, family matters, or any hot topic that’s surfaced over the last 24 hours. While pastries and other comestibles are sometimes consumed, it’s not an integral part of the equation. Not like coffee is.
So where does this ritual play out? Not at a diner. Not at a specialty coffee shop. Instead, the daily flow of friendly, gathered conversation takes place at an institution woven deep into the fabric of America: your friendly, neighborhood convenience store.
Our SSCS installation team personally has witnessed this social phenomenon, many times over, as they criss-cross the country to get customers up-and-running on SSCS technology. “The coffee klatch is a kind of a sub-culture indigenous to the U.S. convenience store,” says one SSCS sales engineer. “Once the sun comes up, the convenience store becomes a neighborhood gathering place. It provides a clean, well-lighted place for discussion. You see the same people every day, often older customers. It’s familiar, cozy, and comfortable for them.”
While many modern convenience stores offer spacious in-store dining areas, with modern furnishings and restaurant-style booths and tables, interior surroundings don’t matter as much as you might think. “I’ve seen old couches set up in front of stores,” adds our sales engineer, “and at the convenience store down the street from me the same handful of regulars bring their own lawn chairs every day. They come for the company and the coffee—everything else is secondary.”
For these folks, the klatch becomes part of the rhythm of their lives and provides an integral link to their community. “Unlike a restaurant concerned with turning tables, that may discourage those that want to linger over a cup of coffee, most convenience stores expect no obligation for regulars in terms of how long they stay,” our rep continues. “This is undoubtedly a central reason for the popularity of these types of gatherings. You can fill up until you are talked out. If you’re looking for a microcosm of the American experience, the c-store is the place to be.”