Brick is going to be home to a new kind of convenience store – so convenient that customers will never have to leave their cars.
The planning board on Wednesday night unanimously approved the application of Farm Stores, a chain based primarily in the American South, to open a store on Mantoloking Road across the street from Visitation Roman Catholic Church. The small, 674-square foot building will bring the chain’s signature concept, a drive-through convenience store where items can be ordered on a smartphone app or directly at one of two large windows, to Brick. It will be constructed on what is now an empty 0.7 acre parcel of land at the corner of Mantoloking Road and Van Note Drive.
“Patrons drive up to the store, and there are one or two employees working, typically,” explained project engineer Joseph Michiels. “You make an order on an app, or you can pull up and make an order right there.”
Menus are located inside the building and mounted on video display screens visible to drivers. Most, however, will likely use the app in today’s tech-heavy world.
The store will offer staples such as snack food, chips, breads, plus warm soups and prepared sandwiches that can be heated up. Farm Stores has existed since 1960 and recently began moving into New Jersey. Brick will be the second Shore area location after a similar store in Beachwood is completed. Unlike most convenience stores, there is no interior counter and customers never leave their vehicles. Two lanes of traffic in the paved area around the building – one leading to one of either two ordering and pickup windows, and another pass-through lane – provide enough room, representatives from the company testified before the board, but there will still be six parking spaces and one handicap space installed.
“The drive-up model is how they’ve operated throughout their entire existence,” said Michiels. “Cars are normally there for no more than two minutes. The efficiency of this use is part of their brand.”
The business is typically open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. with seasonal variations. Deliveries occur during business hours, but not during peak hours, Michiels said, and the deliveries are made using small box trucks that can fit into the existing drive-through lanes. Farm Stores will also improve the aesthetics of the lot, planting trees, installing a vinyl fence and creating a separation from residential homes on the next street.
The Brick location will be slightly different in one respect compared to its southern counterparts. A giant cow that was supposed to have been placed on the roof didn’t fly with township officials.
“We used to have a restaurant in town that had a big Snoopy on the roof, and its size was akin to the Red Lion,” said Township Planner Tara Paxton. “It was quaint and endearing, but I do think the applicant did respond pretty well to our request for changes to the plans. It will look like a farm store, but a farm store in Brick.”