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|Articles - October 2013|
|Monday, September 30, 2013|
Page 1 of 3
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG
Soda Shaq, the new line of cream sodas from Shaquille O’Neal and iced tea maker AriZona, is a health nut’s nightmare. Each Shaq-emblazoned, 23.5-ounce can contains 72 grams of sugar — the equivalent of 17 teaspoons. In health-conscious Portland, one would think the sodas, sold primarily through retail partner 7-Eleven, would go over like a lead balloon. But one month after the product release this summer, Portland sales weren’t just good — the city’s 7-Eleven stores were selling more Soda Shaqs per location each day than any other store group in the country.
To hear the New York Times tell it, Portland is a foodie’s land of (organic) milk and (local) honey where every denizen shops at a co-op, tends a garden and contemplates buying a goat. Evidently, though, more than a few of us don’t fit into that paradisaical portrait; instead, we patronize 7-Eleven and sneak swigs of sugary soda. There is a disconnect here, and perhaps nowhere is this gap more visible than through the lens of that ubiquitous peddler of instant gratification: the convenience store.
Nationally, the convenience store industry is a powerhouse. The 149,000 “c-stores” in the United States handle 160 million transactions per day. They grossed sales of $700 billion in 2012 — more than either grocery stores or restaurants. Both the number of stores and total sales increased, albeit modestly, last year.
Despite the state’s slow-food reputation, Oregon’s c-store industry is no exception to national trends. Our store count went up every year between 2009 and 2012, and our homegrown chain, Plaid Pantry, was among the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the country last year, according to Inc. magazine. As the media portrays us — and as we collectively see ourselves — Portlanders wouldn’t be caught dead at a convenience store. The status of Oregon’s c-store industry, its strengths and the hurdles ahead, however, complicate the Portlandia picture.
Despite strong performance in Oregon and around the country, the c-store sector faces several challenges. Health consciousness is rising. Gas profits are falling. More and more businesses are encroaching on c-stores’ primary proposition, selling convenience in the form of a self-checkout stand or an express espresso. Though it may be an unexpected source for convenience store innovation, our idiosyncratic state offers the industry some distinctly Oregon solutions.
Friday, July 17, 2015
Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner. The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.
Friday, June 05, 2015
As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA
Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
When gossip crosses the line.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Uncertainty in Greece and China, along with potential interest rate hikes mean investors are looking at the market and nervously questioning where they should be invested.
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