RIO RANCHO, NM (KRQE) - A new business has opened on highway 528 in Rio Rancho that changes how we think about convenience shopping and it's not your typical convenience store.
Latitudes, located across the street from Intel is the brainchild of Ron Brown, an Albuquerque native who spent much of his career working for a chain of travel centers in Omaha, Nebraska.
This gas station/convenience store offers more than gas - inside you will find a large selection of groceries, a beer/wine and liquor section, a coffee bar, an ice cream bar, a hot dog bar, a lounge, dining area and bistro that has its own executive and pastry chefs.
There are also prepackaged meals, made to order meals, a deli and wide selection of convenience store items.
Brown says Latitudes was designed around the needs and likes of women.
"Really ladies played a big role in this. We figured with low gas prices and beer prices and hot dogs we could get the fellas in, the real secret was trying to get the ladies" says Brown "the architecture is designed for ladies, the restaurant and take home meal replacements."
Brown says another thing women don't like about convenience stores are the high prices. Latitudes offers prices comparable to large grocery stores. It also has a much larger selection than an average convenience store carrying produce, frozen food items and fresh breads and baked goods.
While Brown wants Latitudes to be a place where people can grab what they need and go, he also wants people to stick around. That is why he has designed a lounge area with couches, a fireplace, free wi fi, and televisions.
Executive chef Jeff Trent aims to create convenience meals that reach a higher level and show a little bit of finesse.
Brown, who has local investors, says he hopes to open up a chain of Latitudes across New Mexico. While opening a business of this size in the middle of a bad economy was a gamble, it appears to be a gamble that is paying off.
"Maybe the right time to build is when nobody else is and that is what we chose to do."
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