Bodegas and corner stores are an important part of any community, serving as places to shop for essential items or to find a late-night snack. But behind the register, owners face challenges that most other retailers do not.
“Convenience stores typically have a high volume of transactions due to the nature of their business. Typically they only have a single lane, and reliability is key. Otherwise, it can cause long lines and delays at the checkout counter, frustrating customers,” says entrepreneur Kevin Patel.
Patel is acutely aware of the specific pain points convenience store owners face. His family has been operating locations since 2002 while also building up his technical career at places like IHG, Southern Company, and General Mills.
Now, he’s entered the tech entrepreneurial world to help other store owners. Patel and his team in Charlotte, North Carolina have been working on industry-specific tech for these stores since 2017. Recently, his startup C-Store POS, is now up and running as a cloud-based solution for corner and convenience store owners.
Described as a “customizable and user-friendly technology,” C-StorePOS’s product is designed to help with inventory management, location-specific checkouts, quickly train employees, and organize customer service work.
This is crucial given the high volume nature of the industry, Patel added.
“Convenience stores sell thousands of products with a wide range of costs & rebates. Hence, they need an easy-to-use system that can track their margins per item with the least amount of work possible. Our system makes it easier for them to track this without taking so much of their time daily,” he told Hypepotamus.
C-Store POS is currently up and running in 140 stores, mostly concentrated along the Eastern Seaboard. Brands like Valero and Public Mini Mart are listed as customers on the startup’s website.
Building in the Southeast is strategic for Patel and his team. The region is a hub of strong e-commerce innovation, and is home to hospitality-focused startups like OrderNerd (acquired by Popmenu in 2021), Sunday, WineView, and Wise Assistant, which all work to help retail store owners.
Patel is hoping to capitalize on that startup momentum.
“The technology community in Charlotte is thriving with numerous talented individuals who have made significant contributions. Although our main development team is located offshore, our local teams handle support, sales, and customer success,” Patel added.