This article is the third in a Series of vertical market displays.

If there’s one place the six-foot social distance rule is challenging, it’s the convenience store. So much merchandise is packed into a small space, and the small space accommodates only a small group of people. Convenience stores in most areas remained open during the retail shut-down, because they were classified as necessary businesses. Now that more people are out and about, convenience stores may want to re-think floor layouts to give a feeling of openness instead of one of compression. Here are a few fixtures that can help nurture the feeling of “openness.”

  • Countertop displays – Sure, these will take up space on your counters, but you’ve already dedicated floor space to the cabinetry that holds up the counter. The more use you make of that section of the floor, the more space you’ll have for other things or to create open areas. Wire countertop displays offer a convenient bag hangar for chips, cookies and candies. Non-food items like sunglasses, magazines, books or videos can go on the opposite side of the check- out counter, so or customers can browse them and not hold up the check-out line. Impulse purchases like gum and mints also find the countertop to be a nice home in a slotted organizer. The key to counter displays is accessibility and cleanliness. Because they are right at the entry of the store and are often staffed by several employees, they should be organized often and look appealing to customers.
  • Food Bins – Keep your food looking fresh to the customer by storing it in clear, acrylic food bins on your long counter or center counter. This allows customers to browse without touching, positions the openings of the bins toward employees who can retrieve the food and package it properly, and saves the customer wait time. Get the stackable bins to conserve counter space.
  • Coffee counters – Adjust your coffee station to be two-way so it minimizes lines and makes social distancing easier. Have the same accessories on both sides of the counter so no matter which way a customer approaches, it’s the right way. Take care that the counter is always clean. Just one spill or out-of-place sugar packet can make the entire store look dirty or unkempt. Limit the number of cup sizes can also cut down on cup dispensers and the dreaded plastic lids that so often fall from their perch on the top shelf.
  • Under-counter displays – Consider push-racks that fit under coffee countertops and check-out counters. Again, the floor space is already claimed by the counter, so make the best of it. The push racks work because the mechanism allows the next object in the series to automatically move forward on the rack – customers don’t need to do much rooting around.
  • Single-sided racks – These are generally floor-standing wire racks that fit up against the wall, allowing one side of display product. The advantage of these racks is the space they afford the store footprint. Although they don’t rotate, they do hold quite a bit of merchandise. Positioning them against the wall offers less chance of customers knocking them over and clears the aisles for more space.