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The Future of C-Stores

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by Mike Cummings, Sr. Principal

April 2024

The future of C-Stores is bright, and there are opportunities to capitalize on demographic shifts and changes in customer preferences to provide a differentiated experience in the marketplace.

“What does the future hold for C-stores?”

First and foremost, diversity of food choices.  Providing a full range of choices – diverse snack and meal choices is key.  As mentioned in my previous blog on the evolution of C-Stores, millennial preferences trend Mexican, and Gen Z trend Asian.  Both grab-n-go and fresh options should be provided.  Careful consideration of the market and its customers, along with creating unique, freshly prepared options can create customer loyalty, and increased revenue per visit.  This approach, along with healthier choices, can make C-Stores an alternative to fast-casual restaurants. 

One interesting approach is the hybrid C-store, combining the best of convenience and groceries.  Most grocery stores include a market section in the offerings to allow consumers to shop for groceries and pick up a freshly prepared meal at the same time.  One development that lends support to the viability of a hybrid C-store opportunity is large grocery stores that include a convenience store in front of the main store.  They primarily offer fuel and traditional convenience store type merchandise, along with a few grocery items to provide quicker, easier pickup when only a few items are needed.  The hybrid C-Store can provide convenience, grocery, and meals on a 24/7 basis.

Finally, we come to the most impactful component of the future success of C-stores: the experience.  Brightness, cleanliness, and excellent customer service are essential but are not enough.  The customer experience, from easy access to ample parking and well-lit and clean exterior are only the start.  The interior should be warm and inviting, easy to navigate and find what you came for (and maybe a few more impulse items). 

Merchandising layout should be uncluttered with space allocated for everything, including special items that may be overstock, seasonal, or limited time merchandise.  Graphics must be planned and consistent, and not reliant on product branded placards or signage; the exception is convenience store branded merchandise.  The use of monitors instead of fixed graphics are easy to update and keep current, and allow cross-promotion, and community information to be incorporated. 

The customer check-out experience must be designed from the start.  Ample checkout stations, and queuing space around checkout are necessary.  Consider how you want your customers to line up while they wait for the next cashier.  Provide space for impulse items on the counter and along it in a way that does not impede customer flow or diminish customer experience. 

Consumers can get virtually anything they want delivered to their home or work, and we have to provide a high level of convenience, and a welcome experience to get them to stop in.  Consider drive through, self check-out, and/or express pick-up options to streamline the visit. 

That was part 3 of a 3 part series. To see previous parts, click the News tab, on our website!

Mike Cummings, Sr. Principal

Chiefs Superbowl Parade!

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February 16, 2023

The Chiefs have reached the pinnacle of their sport and are once again Superbowl Chamions! The parade was yesterday, Tuesday February 15th, and the entire KC Metro area showed up to celebrate.

The parade was electric, with red flooding the streets of Downtown KC.

TK Architects 40th Aniversary Celebration!

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TK Architects International is celebrating our 40th Anniversary as a firm. We wanted to reflect on our past, celebrate our present, and project our future. We wanted to share it with all the people that have joined us along this journey, including clients, contractors, vendors, friends, and family. As we have grown we have added services, sectors, and diverse international locales. Social media became the platform to bridge distance and a worldwide pandemic. We hope you enjoy the campaign and invite you to share your stories, comments, and memories with us.

Relive the anniversary content with us! Scroll through and see what TKA has been, and IS all about from past to present. Below is all of our anniversary content organized by sector.

Each image below is a playlist. Kick back with some popcorn, and see some History, and meet the people who built TKA. Also, enjoy content from: Cinema, Food & Beverage, and Entertainment!

We hope you will enjoy the content and join us on Facebook and LinkedIn to share some of your favorite moments with us!

Full youtube Playlist HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aZY9hedVAY&list=PLVqK0Gnu_6-gCnl2Zxps8jpDm5y-rXfre


Sr. Principal MIKE CUMMINGS kicks off our INTERVIEW SERIES and talks about how TK Architects got involved in the cinema industry. Follow along in this TKA HISTORY Playlist and hear from a number of our Principals including Jack Muffoletto, Tamra Knapp, Brad Reynolds, and more! This playlist is packed with TKA origin stories, memorandums, challenges, influences, and acquaintances that help to mold TK Architects into the industry-leading company that it is today.
(15 videos)


See where it all started in the CINEMA for TK Architects! Enjoy our story from the outside to the inside and all around. Grab some popcorn and join us down the promenade to the BIG screen!
(10 Videos)


Food and Beverage is not only a stand-alone market sector. It spans across various market sectors as a component of them.  TK has worked on a variety of projects encompassing all ranges of Food and Beverage elements from small kiosks and self-service counters to full-service restaurants.  Having engineering in-house is a particular benefit to the Food and Beverage sector work as F&B equipment is specialized and required focused MEP engineering. When you add our special relationship with equipment vendors, the project work is streamlined for client success.
(5 videos)


The evolution of TK Architects from Cinema to holistic Entertainment Facilities seemed to happen naturally due to the synergy that cinema and other entertainment opportunities bring. Entertainment Facilities offer a large revenue stream from Arcades, Bowling, Mini Golf, VR, AR, and Escape rooms.
(5 Videos)

Thank you for following along with our 40th-anniversary content and us over the years. We had a great time creating the content and hearing some of the stories from the past, from the people who built TKA to be what it is today.

Please follow along on social media as we open a new chapter in TK Architects history!

Mike Cummings Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

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Who is CTC?

The Cinema Technology Community (CTC), is an independent, not-for-profit membership organization that aims to advance the use of technology to enhance all aspects of the movie-going experience.

With over 450 members in more than 65 countries, the members represent all facets of the film industry; from film distributors to cinema exhibitors, integrators, manufacturers, journalists, and thought leaders. The membership community is united by a shared passion for technology and the cinematic experience.

What is the Lifetime Achievement Award?

The Lifetime Achievement Award this year is awarded to not one but two individuals, rewarded to individuals to recognize their efforts to support the cinema industry.

On November 26th, 2020 CTC announced the recipients of its prestigious 2020 awards at its appropriately special online event, ‘One Community Day’. The awards night recognized individuals and organizations that continue to drive excellence in movie-going through the use of technology and outstanding service to the industry.

Representing TK Architects, our very own Mike Cummings. Mike is being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for being a “true technologist” for his understanding of the cinema industry. Mike and TKA are renowned as one of the first to pioneer in the use of 3D designs to build cinemas. As architects moved from 2D pencil-to-paper drawings to Digital 3D Building Information Modeling, TK recognized the opportunities that 3D design could bring. Providing clients with digital walk-thrus of cinemas while still in the concept stage, this technology proved to be better collaboration with project partners while reducing on-site construction costs and wastage. This technological revolution has enabled TK to continue to be at the forefront of global design creating amazing cinema spaces for all to enjoy.

Mike is not only a major part of TK Architects, he is also a big part of the cinema industry. This well-deserved recognition makes us proud and we hope he is planning a big party!

CTC Annual Awards 2020

Join film-critic, author and broadcaster Mark Kermode and CTC’s own ‘Last Projectionist Standing’ Dave Norris in recognizing the 2020 Award Recipients in the video below:

Visit video on youtube for timestamp to Mikes Lifetime Achievement presentation: https://youtu.be/47poWiqsoJI (click “more” in the description)

Covid Innovation Award – Vista Entertainment Solutions
Cinema of the Year – Nightflix Cinemas
Rising Star – Alice Tentori
Technology Pioneer – Dolby Laboratories
Outstanding Achievement – CJ Cinema Summit
Lifetime Achievement – Mike Cummings
Lifetime Achievement – Peter Hall

For further information on CTC including membership opportunities, visit www.cinema-technology.com or email info@cinema-technology.com