Recently, we featured Harrods 102, a luxury convenience offshoot of the well-known London retailer. Meanwhile, in California, Famima is bringing Japanese style to the convenience arena. FamilyMart is a Japanese franchise chain that operates 6,000 convenience stores in Japan, and 6,000 in Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Vancouver, and Shanghai. For its North-American rollout, the company is operating under the brand name Famima. Five recently opened stores in the Los Angeles area (Pasadena, Torrance, Santa Monica, Westwood, and West Hollywood), are the first of 250 planned Famima stores in the US. What sets Famima apart? Catering to busy, affluent urbanites, the stores offer premium versions of regular convenience store goods. Drip coffee has been replaced by espresso, and microwaved hotdogs by fresh sushi and bento boxes. Famima sells a variety of premium groceries and prepared foods, alongside anime comics, European notepads and other fun novelty items. Design is clean, polished, and uncluttered, and signs for aisle sections are somewhat cryptic icons in bright yellow and red. Like Harrods 102, Famima aims to be a one-stop-shop for the affluent consumers they’re after. In their own words: “Famima encompasses all that is essential for the 21st century lifestyle – a neighbourhood deli, a quick service restaurant, a premium grocer, a drug store, a banker, a personal business services and stationery store, a local newsstand and internet provider, and a morning coffee and snack stop.” As long as the design doesn’t grow stale, and the food stays fresh, premium convenience stores like Famima and Harrods 102 will appeal to customers in cities across the globe. Sooner or later, a global chain will do for convenience what Starbucks did for coffee!