Looking for Info: General Store/Convenience Store mixed with cafe


New member
Feb 7, 2015
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Hi all,

We're a few months into year 3 and a different opportunity has arisen and I thought I'd check-in and see if anyone had suggestions based on their experiences. We had a neighbouring convenience store that people in the community nicknamed the "inconvenience store" because of strange hours and stranger inventory.

Strange hours: They had a daily schedule of 11am-5pm, but most days struggled to open by 12:30pm. Typically on Tuesdays, they'd be open until 1:30 and then close until 4:30.

Stranger inventory: some candy bars, slushes, big inventory of soft drinks, no dairy, no produce, but lots of stationary.

After a fire in the spring, they never reopened. The building manager approached me last week to let me know that the store won't ever reopen. They want to know what they can do to help me convert to a cafe/convenience store. I have some major doubts, but there is an opportunity to expand our business slowly to be more 'convenient' to more people in our neighbourhood.

I have questions, since I'm looking to start out safely and see where we can go with it over a few years:
  1. If you have both a cafe and general store/convenience store, what prime product would you recommend?
  2. Would you recommend bringing in produce?
  3. Which products have the biggest ROI for you?

We're currently awaiting word on our application with a major dairy company. Dairy makes sense for us, since we already have a set amount we use every month.
We *could* bring in produce that, again, we'd be guaranteed to use in our sandwiches, but I have doubts if they would sell without key produce like apples, oranges, etc.

I'm currently working on a few proposals with the head of the building management company. Doing "anything they can" to help this happen means I'm going to them with a wishlist of renovations/improvements that would help steer us in the right direction. Might as well see what all I can get out of it!!

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/suggestions!


New member
Aug 14, 2017
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While I don't have experience as a coffee shop owner I do have some experience in retail/c-stores. From looking at your store in google maps I am guessing that your plaza is the major/only resource for the entire neighborhood. Since you appear to be in the drivers seat I'd look at having the real estate owner put a drive-thru in for you as part of the deal. They won't want to. If they really want you to expand to a c-store though they can make it happen, maybe on the west side of the building - make them pay to move you to that side. As far as c-store items don't forget lottery tickets, over-the-counter drugs, and toiletries. They build traffic and won't tie up much capital in inventories. As far as the rest goes, subscribe to convenience store news, and check out the products carried by Provisions on Demand. They can provide actual data and I bet you can find someone to build out and stock the store for you. Good luck