Culture

Obsessed With Fresh, High-Quality Convenience Stores Abroad, a Dallas Entrepreneur Created Her Own

With Feed Me Pronto, Morgan Pieper Wants to Give Everyone Access to Clean, Healthy Food

BY // 06.08.21
photography Misael Rodriguez

Inside the gleaming glass doors of Feed Me Pronto, the setup mirrors a convenience store, but every detail, from the bags of chips lining the shelves to the backsplash behind the self-serve counter, has been elevated. It’s as if Wes Anderson painted a glossy, organic sheen over a 7-Eleven. “This is like the Apple Store for food,” a customer once noted.

That comparison is fine with Morgan Pieper, a Southern Methodist University graduate who left an associate position at Ernst & Young to open her dream concept: a reinvented convenience store where every stale staple is swapped for something clean and healthy. In place of a Slurpee machine, Feed Me Pronto offers taps of kombucha, açai, and organic cold brew. Lining the shelves are cleaner alternatives to gummy bears, Oreos, Cheez-Its, and Cheetos (PeaTos have proven hard to keep in stock). Even toothpaste and condoms get an all-natural Feed Me Pronto makeover. Grab-and-go meals such as rosemary chicken salad and tomato basil soup are all organic, as is the wine section, which includes the store’s private wine label, Drink Me Pronto.

The first Feed Me Pronto opened in Victory Park during the fall of 2019, but the idea had been with Pieper since 2011, when she began taking note of retail concepts during her business travels. “I became obsessed with convenience stores in other parts of the world,” she says. “Their offerings were so clean, and their mentality was so different. I really wanted to bring that to the U.S.”

The convenience store with its sad lighting and gummy floors hasn’t seen much evolution in the United States. The same brands that lined the shelves of the corner shops of the ’50s still appear today. And though they might be crave-worthy and convenient, they’ve never been particularly attractive or healthy. Over the years, Pieper noticed the occasional boutique grocer who took great care in the items they carried, but never a true convenience store (“c-store” in industry parlance) where everything stocked is single-serving. Research and plans in hand, she was ready to make her move, no matter what.

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Organic grab-and-go meals line the Feed Me Pronto shelves in Victory Park (courtesy)

“I decided to start my family at the same time I decided to start my business,” she says. “I couldn’t wait for my family, but I also didn’t want to wait on Feed Me Pronto. I actually did my capital raise pregnant, which was unique.” To gather industry insight, she worked at a food startup for several months and attended Dallas Startup Week. She traveled to six food shows across the country. “The one in New York was food heaven,” she says.

Just six months after opening, the global pandemic arrived. Deemed an essential business, the store played a vital role in serving residents of Victory Park, a restaurant- and entertainment-heavy neighborhood that went quiet through most of 2020.

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Now that life is returning to some semblance of normalcy, Pieper can get back on track with her vision: a Feed Me Pronto takeover that allows everyone easy access to healthy food. A second location, in a Bell Avenue home along Lower Greenville, is already in the works.

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