New health role for convenience stores?

The Grocer creative challenge

The Grocer
1 June 2018

How can c-stores really hammer home the health message? The Grocer challenged Conran Design Group to devise a bold new convenience store concept. The result is Ark, the ‘mindful’ health food store.

Stores that sell a bit of healthy food are 10 a penny. Ark is different. The concept of health is enshrined in everything it does: from the design of its premises to its choice of products. The modular prefabricated units that make up the stores are created entirely from recycled or reclaimed materials. Solar panels provide an eco-friendly source of energy, and rainwater is harvested to make sure nothing goes to waste. All food is “mindfully” chosen. That means produce is of a high quality with traceable ingredients, all with the aim of supporting ”a healthier lifestyle and healthier mind”. There will be a range of options to suit every time of day: from freshly prepared breakfast and lunches to healthy snacks, and meal packs for a quick yet healthy evening meal.

But Ark aims to sell far more than food. Each franchisee can choose exactly what services to offer their local community. Add-on options include a Wellness Studio – designed for mindfulness sessions, yoga, pilates or mother and baby groups – or an allotment for growing of veg, herbs and grasses. And just to prove it practises what it preaches, Ark will put profits into outreach programmes such as pop-up cookery classes in more deprived areas of its locality.

Priced on a par with Whole Foods Market, the store aims to attract professionals who are concerned with wellness and where their food comes from, and are willing to pay a bit more for a business with the right values. "The concept is grounded in retail spaces that provide a community gathering point of like-minded people", says Thom Newton, CEO. “It’s a destination with thoughtful product ranging in a retail experience that offers something for body and mind; providing customers with the pint of milk, the perfect snack and a place to reset and re-energise in the process.”

This article was first published by The Grocer.