Kum & Go opens a new store in Ames’ Campustown business district Thursday, and the location is the company’s third in a new line of marketplace concepts for the 60-year-old convenience chain.
The walk-up, at 2320 Lincoln Way, has no fuel pumps and no parking lot, but it does have a “bodega feel” and offers a large selection of healthy food and environmentally friendly products, district supervisor David Lienemann told the Tribune Wednesday.
Tanner Krause, president of the family-owned chain, did research outside of Iowa with his marketing team in developing the concept, Lienemann said.
“They looked at what does an urban walk-up store look like, in terms of convenience?” Lienemann said. “And a lot of touches they came up with have that bodega feel like you might get in California but, obviously, with our Kum & Go flavor added.”
There are no roller grills, which are ubiquitous in convenience stores. There is a selection of fresh fruits, healthy snacks and beverages, and freshly made menu items.
“We have a full menu, just as if we had a marketplace store, which is our largest platform store — we offer all of those items,” Lienemann said. “We do have curbside and full service.”
Customers will still find the usual guilty pleasure items, too, like pop, candy and donuts.
“Everyone needs an awesome donut occasionally.”
The goal, Lienemann said, is to offer healthy alternatives, too, including a line of teas that are made in-house and come in flavors like watermelon hibiscus.
Beverages also include a selection of liquor, wine and beer.
“It’s always been the innovative nature of Kum & Go to reconceptualize what convenience means and how we can be as close as possible to our customers,” Ariel Rubin, Kum & Go’s communications director, added during a walk-through of the new store Wednesday.
The Ames walk-up is the third of its type for the Des Moines-based convenience store chain. Similar stores have opened in downtown Des Moines and Omaha, and a fourth being planned in Denver.
► More on Kum & Go’s downtown Des Moines location:Kum & Go’s first urban store brings healthier options, sustainable packaging to downtown Des Moines
“New format stores, innovating on our digital platforms and growing our food program are just three ways we hope to continue to evolve to meet our customers’ needs,” Rubin said.
Sustainability is a significant emphasis for the Ames location, which offers compostable silverware and straws, recyclable cups and lids, and post-consumer recycled food packaging. The store offers recycling and compost bins for refuse, too.
There are some tables and chairs set up outside the store and there’s free Wi-Fi.
“People can come out and study or grab a coffee with someone,” Lienemann said. “The tables are socially distanced.”
Being located near the Memorial Union and just across the street from campus is a great location for students who want to get a snack or a meal during the school day, Lienemann said. Plus, the store is open until midnight, so it’s also good for the late-night crowds.
“We have been in Ames a long time. It’s been a great market for us,” Rubin said. “We will continue to build stores in the community and look for new ways to make days better for our customers.”