- Convenience retailer Choice Market plans to open at least five more frictionless Mini-Mart c-stores by the end of 2023 “with a big ramp in 2024,” founder and CEO Mike Fogarty said in an email to sister site C-Store Dive.
- Choice’s growth has been backed by a new Series A funding round, which has also allowed the food-focused retailer to grow its leadership team with four new hires, according to an emailed announcement Wednesday.
- To date, Choice has raised nearly $10 million through multiple rounds of funding, according to the announcement. Its latest round comes about five months after the retailer debuted its first Mini-Mart location on The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
When Choice opened its first AI-powered, fully autonomous Mini-Mart c-store back in October, Fogarty said it was the first of several of those types of locations. The 400-square-foot c-store, open 24/7 every day, became the first Choice Market store to exclusively rely on cashierless checkout — unlike Choice’s other stores, which feature both traditional and frictionless checkout.
Because its first Mini-Mart has been successful, Choice now plans to grow this format not just in Denver, but nationally, through partnerships with hospitals, apartment developers, venues, airports, EV charging stations and college campuses, according to Wednesday’s announcement.
"The Mini-Mart concept is particularly scaleable and ripe with innovation,” David Prichard, CEO of Denver Angels, one of the investment groups funding Choice Market, said in the announcement. “When we started looking at Choice Market, we realized we were uniquely equipped to provide value with several Denver Angels members having significant expertise and infrastructure in the industries that Choice Market touches.”
Choice’s new leadership team includes Chief Operating Officer Amanda Dentici, the former vice president of merchandising and operations for grocery chain Fairway Market; Senior Director of Retail Operations Dennis Apreza, the former director of produce for Fairway Market; and Senior Director of Culinary Operations Merlin Verrier, the former corporate executive chef at Michelin star restaurant Graham Elliot. The company also named Peter Haslam as controller.
Choice Market operates five c-stores in the Denver, Colorado, area. Its small-format, technology-driven locations are centered around in-store foodservice, fresh food and groceries, an assortment of local products and other day-to-day necessities.