HawaiiWritten by Stacy Yuen Hernandez On 03 April 2012
Aloha Petroleum’s convenience store of the future

Runners heading out to Hawaii Kai for their Sunday runs still refer to that landmark gas station/convenience store bordered by Kilauea Avenue, the Kalanianaole Highway on-ramp and Kealaolu Avenue (aka “golf course road”) as “Arco.” However, it hasn’t been Arco in ages. In fact, it’s been Aloha Petroleum for awhile now. And for those who haven’t yet experienced it, there’s been an upgrade to the old convenience store – quite a magnificent upgrade, I must say.

I remember experiencing this Aloha Island Mart convenience store (c-store, for short) for the first time last August. While on my way to Hawaii Kai during a 20-mile run, and perhaps a tad delirious, I stumbled in to this literally (and figuratively) cool, newly-renovated flagship convenience store. Immediately struck by the aesthetics of the place, I was impressed by the large floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious aisles. There was also something about the lighting. It felt somewhat elegant and definitely not the usual feeling you get when entering a convenience store. This felt like the c-store of the future.

And it’s not only the visual appeal, but the content has been upgraded, as well. Aloha’s new c-stores offer fresh, healthy food choices such as fresh fruit, sandwiches and yogurt. Of course, you have your typical options, including hot dogs, nachos, coffee, slushies and soft drinks. By the way, there are literally hundreds of flavors of soft drinks, thanks to the FlavorFusion soda machine. (They refer to it as the Ferrari of soda machines where you can mix flavors to your heart’s desire.)

For beer drinkers, there is a “Beer Cave” where customers can fully immerse themselves into the beer buying experience.

The staff was incredibly friendly even though I just wanted to look around and not buy anything. They even seemed happy to point folks to the restrooms. I am normally not one to use public restrooms, but my running partner returned to report that these were the best pubic restrooms he had ever seen or used. Besides being sparkling clean, the toilets even had a flush option depending on the power the user deems necessary.

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. In fact, the National Association of Convenience Stores has recognized Aloha Petroleum for its industry-leading efforts.

Stop by. See for yourself.

Photo: Courtesy Aloha Petroleum

See also: Talk Story with Richard Parry, President and CEO of Aloha Petroleum

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About Author

Stacy Yuen Hernandez

Stacy Yuen Hernandez is a writer for Hawaii Business magazine. A former writer/editor for The Honolulu Advertiser, Stacy has also worked in radio and TV news in the San Francisco Bay area. She possesses a Journalism degree from San Jose State University and a Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law.

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Randy Havre
Randy Havre

As an old ultra-runner I know the Arco well, I guess I will need to check it out. Maybe it's kind of a "Liberty House" thing. Aloha