BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Get ready for another chain of convenience stores in the Buffalo area. The latest entry into the grab-and-go sweepstakes is called “REBEL.” There’s only one now, but there will likely be many more.
The convenience store business is getting to be like a game of “musical chairs” coast-to-coast, with Western New York turning into one of the hot spots. We are seeing new stores and gas stations we have never heard of, but we could get to know them real soon.
Right now, the location’s store is a “REBEL” parent company, Anabi Oil of Upland, Calif., while the gas is still branded Speedway. You might recall until last year, the station was a NOCO, but now it is a new day.
“Some of the best and most innovative stores, both for food — including signature pizza — as well as fuel out at the pump,” said Burt Flickinger III, a retail analyst of the Strategic Resource Group. “So great news for Buffalo consumers.”
Flickinger predicts the store at Main Street and Youngs Road in Amherst is just the first of many. There has been a re-shuffling of the deck for convenience stores, with NOCO getting out of the business in 2019, giving way to a cluster of Marathon-owned Speedways — many of which were bought by 7-Eleven. Others are being converted to Joe’s Kwik Marts, and Flickinger is sensing the possibility of a “gas war.”
“There will be a ‘gas war’ of unprecedented proportions between BJ’s, the low price leader, Costco, the low price leader, Tops getting more promotional on the fuel program,” he said.
Flickinger says REBEL will bring a few innovations, including food delivery, and as folks try to put the Covid pandemic in the rearview mirror, the timing could not be better for the convenience store competition.
“Just before the Canadian consumers come across the border for much less expensive gas, food, and sundries, he said. “It will be a bonanza business for them”
Flickinger also said Buffalo has been an “underserved market” for gas in recent years, leading to higher prices among upstate cities. Now, with Costco entering the market, and the upsurge in competition, he is predicting a pleasant change.