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03/22/2022

CSA's 2022 Breakout Retailer award winners are ...

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Marianne Wilson profile picture
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Breakout retailers 2022
Breakout Retailer Awards (left to right); Dan Marihugh, Burlington Stores; Jorge Rodriguez; Raising Cane’s; Charlie Kwalwasser, CAMP; and Aaron Harris, Dutch Bros

Chain Store Age honored four retail and restaurant brands at its Breakout Retailers Awards presentation, held at CSA’s 58th annual SPECS Show, March 20-22, in Grapevine, Texas.

The winning lineup for 2023 included Burlington Stores, CAMP, Dutch Bros and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. The awards were sponsored by architecture and design engineering firm Stantec.

“The Breakout Retailers awards recognize retail, restaurant and non-traditional specialty concepts that are investing in innovation and growth in the physical space,” said CSA editor-in-chief Marianne Wilson during the event.

Executives from the four honored brands were on hand at SPECS to accept their awards, and to share insights into their companies during a panel discussion. Representing their companies were:  

  • Dan Marihugh,VP, store innovation, Burlington Stores;
  • Charlie Kwalwasser, chief commercial officer; CAMP;
  • Aaron Harris, VP of development, Dutch Bros; and
  • Jorge Rodriguez, director of remodel construction, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.

Here is an overview of the Breakout Retailers concepts:

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Burlington Baby section

Burlington Stores

The off-price retailer is thinking smaller to get bigger, energizing its business with an innovative new store prototype that comes in at about 30,000 sq. ft. or smaller, which is about half the size of a Burlington legacy store.

The new format, which has a modern, upbeat look, pays multiple dividends for the retailer, allowing it to operate with leaner in-store inventory, lower occupancy and operational costs and an increased pool of potential real estate sites for new locations. It’s proving more productive and profitable.

Burlington is firmly committed to investing in physical stores. It’s ramped up store growth and expects to open some 120 new locations in its current fiscal year.

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CAMP

CAMP

It’s all about the experience at CAMP, which helps families answer the question, "What should we do today?" Launched several years ago, CAMP offers a unique shop/play experience combines retail with themed family-friendly activities. In many of its locations, patrons enter the activity play space through a magic door in the retail area, which is billed as The Canteen.

The themes at CAMP rotate on a regular basis and differ by location, with a merchandise lineup to match. And no two stores are exactly alike. Last summer, for example, its Manhattan flagship was transformed into the digitally enabled Cosmic Camp. It used augmented reality and projection mapping technology to transport customers to the outer galaxy,

CAMP is just getting started. It has eight locations, and will open door number 9 next month in Los Angeles at Century City. The company hopes to double its store count annually.

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Dutch Bros

The Pacific Northwest cult-fave, drive-through only coffee chain is on a roll. Dutch Bros has grown from about 250 stores to more than five hundred in just under six years. It is now the country’s third-largest coffee chain, operating 538 locations across 12 states at the end of last year.

The company, which went public last summer with a valuation of $3.8 billion, sees the potential for 4,000 locations over time, with the majority of its growth to be company-owned stores. It expects to open about 125 sites this year.

Dutch Bros, which roasts all its own coffee, pioneered the coffee drive-thru concept. Nearly all its locations have either a single or double drive-thru, with some incorporating multiple lanes. Many also have walk-up ordering windows and open-air patios for seating. Only a handful have indoor seating areas.

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CANES

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

When Todd Graves was looking for help to start his business, he was told the same thing again and again. “Serving only chicken finger meals just won't work.” Undeterred, Graves worked various jobs, and eventually used his own money to open the first location. Today, Raising Cane’soperates some 600 locations in 30 states — serving only chicken finger meals and sides.  

January 2022 marked the start of an aggressive year of growth for Raising Cane’s, with plans to open 100 locations across 10 new markets.  The expansion includes its first-ever location in New York City, an 8,500-sq.-ft. flagship in Times Square. Similar to Dutch Bros, the majority of Raising Cane restaurants are company-owned, and that will remain the company’s primary growth model.