SHARING INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE AND CONNECTIONS
IDEAS 2 GO
A ‘MARKET’ DIFFERENCE
A hybrid convenience store-restaurant brings necessities and upscale food to downtown
BY SARAH HAMAKER
How do you create a new kind of convenience store? That’s the question Sprint Foods pondered in the early planning stages of what eventually became Metro Market in
Augusta, Georgia. “From the beginning, we
wanted this to be more like a hybrid restaurant/
convenience store, one with an inviting atmosphere and a heavy emphasis on foodservice,” said
Anna Felz, director of marketing for Sprint Foods.
The result combines the usual convenience store
products — cigarettes, beer and snacks — with
restaurant-quality food and atmosphere.
President and CEO Andy Jones (also a NACS Board
member) and his team at Sprint Foods knew that the
key to success with a non-traditional convenience
store would be the location. When a prime piece of
real estate became available in downtown Augusta
three years ago, Sprint Foods quickly snapped it up.
The dilapidated building needed extensive work to
make it usable, but its position in the heart of the city
— close to the Augusta Convention Center, residential housing and other destination draws — made it
the perfect place to launch Metro Market.
The fact that the central area of the city had no
other convenience or grocery stores was another plus. “It’s … something different that Augusta
doesn’t have, especially downtown Augusta,” said
Jones in an interview with the Augusta Economy.
Construction started on the two-story,
11,000-square-foot building in November 2013. The
building houses Metro Market on the ground floor
and Sprint Foods Support Center on the top floor.
The corporate offices for the 15-unit Sprint Foods
will remain in Wrens, Georgia.
In addition to offices, the second floor
houses a conference room and the rooftop
has been converted into an inviting dining
space, both of which are available for events.
The store has just begun to expand its catering and delivery service for local businesses.
“We envision people using this space for
business meetings — we have an entire wall
of white board and all the AV equipment
for presentations, etc. — and for private functions, such as bridal showers and parties,” said Felz.
Overall, the store was designed to attract attention. “We wanted to do something new and different
with the building. The outside is brick and has the
appearance of an older building, which it is,” she
said. “But the inside is black and sleek, with a more
modern feel. It’s not what customers expect the first
time they walk through the doors.”
Along with other convenience stores, Sprint Foods
has found that a dedicated focus on foodservice is an
essential traffic driver. “We put a lot of time and effort
The store’s location in the center of the city
makes it the perfect spot to attract residents,
nearby workers and convention center visitors.