MANATEE -- RaceTrac will be hitting the gas pedal on renovations of select stores as WaWa and Thornton's come into the Bradenton-area market.
The Atlanta-based convenience store will start renovations this fall on its 5,000-square-foot store at 5410 14th St. W, Bradenton and be finished before the end of the year, RaceTrac spokeswoman Jessica Rice said.
"While they're under construction, fuel sales will remain open and a mobile unit will be outside to sell coffee, bottles beverages, snacks and coffee," Rice said.
New features will include indoor and outdoor seating, expanded coffee bar, free WiFi, Swirl World, which will be a yogurt bar featuring fresh toppings and Speedy Avocado -- a made-to-order southwest grill station that includes burritos, quesadillas and nachos, she said. The main features will be architectural enhancements as the company retrofits its 5,000-square-foot stores to match the look of its new 6,000-square-foot models, she said.
"Our goal is brand consistency, and we will continue to build state-of-the-art convenience stores that deliver upon our guests' needs and desires," Rice said.
Its Sarasota store at 5600 Fruitville Road, is in the midst of the same renovations. The main building is being gutted and a red trailer serves as a temporary convenience store. That location opened in 2007, and renovations are also expected to be finished by the end of the year.
The Bradenton renovations will come ahead of construction for a new Wawa on the corner of 14th Street West and State Route 70, giving RaceTrac features to compete with the food offerings of the Pennsylvania-based company. The 14th Street RaceTrac opened in 2011.
"We are always looking to
stay ahead of the curve, and we learn from our competitors as much as they learn from us," Rice said.
RaceTrac still has plans for three more locations in Manatee: 8100 S.R. 64 E, 7259 N. Tamiami Trail and 3004 53rd Ave. E, where the 117-year-old Beth Salem house sits.
The State Road 64 East location is under construction and should be open before the end of the year, Rice said, and a 24-pump store on the corner of Bee Ridge Road East and Mauna Loa Boulevard started construction this week in Sarasota. That store is expected to open early next year, Rice said.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.