After years of growing downstate, Valparaiso-based Family Express aims to make a splash with a big expansion in the Indianapolis suburbs, part of what it's calling one of the most ambitious growth plans in company history.
The chain known for square donuts, fancy espresso drinks and grocery staples like bacon and fresh fruit has 72 locations across the state, including near the Indianapolis airport and in Lebanon. Now it's entering three new markets in the affluent northern suburbs of Indianapolis, including Carmel, where it plans an Art Deco convenience store.
"This will include the development of sites under contract in Carmel, Zionsville, and Whitestown," Family Express President and CEO Gus Olympidis said.
Family Express, which is headquartered at 213 Ind. 49 in Valparaiso, may open seven new gas stations this year.
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"Family Express is poised to deliver this year the most ambitious development schedule in its 40-year history, by opening five stores in 2018," the company said in a press release. "The company is on schedule to deliver two additional stores, currently under construction, before Christmas."
The new stores will have pet washes and will sell car wash codes that can be used at any Family Express Car Wash. Family Express's new 5,500-square-foot stores also play up its Cravin’s To Order restaurants, which seat 28 diners and sell food like pizza, boneless wings, pretzels, breakfast bowls, and breakfast sandwiches.
Founded in Valparaiso in 1975, Family Express has since grown throughout northern and central Indiana. It was named Chain of the Year by Convenience Store Decisions magazine in 2015.