Offering food and convenience in a small space is a hallmark of Choice Market in Denver, a 2,500-square-foot grocery/c-store that opened in 2017 and has made its name locally with made-to-order sandwiches and meals and a product mix that is “90% better-for-you products; 10% traditional c-store and large CPG brands,” according to founder and CEO Mike Fogarty.
Now the retailer has found an even smaller, more convenient way to reach customers. The Choice Mini-Mart vending program combines quick service, fresh quality food from local vendors and the latest technology in a machine that is kept at the perfect temperature and is stocked with fresh, local snacks, fruit, sandwiches, salads, jerky and more. Prices range from $3 to $6 for snacks and drinks and $7 to $11 for meal solutions.
The first two Choice Mini-Mart vending machines have just begun operations at Denver’s newest music venue, the Mission Ballroom. Customers slide a credit card to unlock the door and access the food and drinks inside. Once they’ve taken an item and shut the door, they will be charged for the items removed. Users have the option of entering their email to get a receipt.
In addition to convenience, customers can rely on Choice to deliver fresh, local, environmentally friendly products. Choice works with local farmers to source a majority of its ingredients and products, including organic produce and antibiotic-free and nitrate-free proteins.
“Choice Mini-Mart is a natural extension of our omnichannel strategy and fully aligns with our mission to make good food accessible and convenient,” said Fogarty. “These vending machines are a perfect fit for airports, hospitals, breweries, offices and other institutions that are looking to provide their time-constrained customers and employees with fresh and delicious food.”
Fogarty’s business model was inspired by growing up going to East Coast-based Wawa convenience stores and spending time in Europe with where small-format grocery stores are popular.
“I would frequent these small markets that were on almost every corner,” he said. “They were thoughtfully curated, and full of great local products. When I came back to the States, I felt this format was missing in our growing cities and really started to rethink what a convenience store can and should be.”
While Choice currently operates one store, located in downtown Denver, there are plans for two new locations this year, including one on the ground floor of the Denver Housing Authority headquarters. A third Choice Market, scheduled to open this fall, will reportedly feature fuel pumps, electric vehicle supercharging, a bike share terminal and electric scooter stations.
And now with the launch of Choice Mini-Marts, the possibility to grow the brand’s reach looks very promising.