FORT SMITH, Ark. — Three convenience store brands have invested heavily in Northwest Arkansas recently, according to Thecitywire.com.

When constructing fueling stations at its new Neighborhood Market stores, Wal-Mart is including miniature c-stores, noted the article.

Kum & Go and Casey’s General Stores are also involved in the market's growth, stated the article. Kum & Go “has built or remodeled 14 stores over the past three years” and Casey’s has 19 locations.

These developments and others contribute to about one store for every 8,333 local consumers in the area, reported the article. Statewide, there is approximately one c-store for every 1,600 people, said Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, in the article.

Read also: C-store operators optimistic for beginning of 2015

Lenard added in the article that Texas and Florida are popular for c-store chains right now. Retailers like Ikea, Old Navy and Home Depot also offer food and drinks near checkout areas.

C-stores are no substitutes for grocery stores, shared Lenard in the article, but consumers are becoming more comfortable purchasing food from them.

“You take someone who fills up and then goes inside and tries a fresh sandwich or other food and they are pleasantly surprised by the experience and then converted,” Lenard said in the article. “We are seeing some chains offering samples at the fueling station in some cases to get consumers to try the food.”

Click here to read the entire article.