Archives for 2006

a uniform approach to marketing

Enhancing employee image can help operators create a unique niche in the market. After consumers’ positive reactions to its “I’m Lovin’ It” advertising campaign, it was rumored that McDonald’s was in talks with some of the world’s best-known clothing labels&—Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ Sean John line, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and Giorgio Armani to name

what type of marketer are you

Dealer volume has never been more attractive and times have never been better for wholesale marketers considering exiting the industry. I was sitting in my office the other day ruminating that with the recent letter of intent we had just received, I was about to be a man without a jobbership to sell. Fortunately, the

hopping around with valero

It’s no surprise that Valero has made its own dent in the industry. Convenience Store Decisions‘ 2006 Chain of the Year recipient is an American success story. What started as a small company—armed only with some ambition and business savvy—has grown to unfathomable proportions over the past six years. With 18 refineries, a throughput of

the rise of a retail powerhouse

In less than a decade, Valero has grown into the largest refiner in North America and assembled one of the most recognized retail brands in the industry. In retail circles, ask anyone to name the leading fuel distributors in their markets. In previous years, you would have heard names like Citgo and Texaco. Not so

standing out in the crowd

Aided by its partnership with Valero, Fas Mart and Shore Stop stores are thriving in a tough East Coast market. Just a few years ago, Fas Mart was facing financial uncertainty. With 170 stores, the Mechanicsville, Va.-based chain, which also operates Shore Stop stores, was forced into Chapter 11. But what was a difficult period

onsite triage savings are no accident

There’s a clear need for keeping workers’ compensation costs down, but simply reducing benefits is not a practical answer. Human resources, safety and risk managers in the convenience store industry need to consider innovative approaches to improving employee health and safety while containing workers’ compensation costs for the employer. The industry needs healthy employees in

smokeless tobacco review and outlook

Over the last few years, moist smokeless tobacco (MST) has increased in importance to convenience retailers as witnessed by its growing contribution to both in-store dollar sales and gross profits. During the same time period, the Sub-Price/Value (S-P/V) segment rapidly grew, changing the dynamics and strategies associated with MST. As the S-P/V segment began to

cuttingedge

One might think being fired from his first job in the convenience industry may have soured Russ Quick to the channel. Granted, he was 14, sweeping parking lots for a corner gas station and was replaced when the owner's daughter came of age, but still, a man has his pride. Quick dabbled successfully in several

publishers qa chairman of the board

Bill Greehey discusses the moves that helped put Valero at the head of the refining industry. CSD: In 1997, Valero became focused on acquiring refineries. What made you come to this decision? Greehey: That was always our goal, but it was in 1997 when we changed strategies by selling our pipeline and liquid operations to

know whos buying tobacco

Sales to minors are needlessly costing retailers thousands in fines, and some are facing the loss of their tobacco license. State and local governments, under the guise of public safety, are continuing to pursue “sting” operations to identify irresponsible convenience store clerks that are selling tobacco products to minors. While safety, I’m sure, is part

turning around turnover

Hiring the right employees from the get-go. By David Hyatt, Contributing Editor When turnover is reduced and retention is the norm, retail businesses thrive.If an operator can find a sure-fire way to identify job applicants who are ableto do the job and actually be happy on the job, many later attempts at increasingstaff retention will

minimizing workplace injuries

Working with insurance companies, many convenience store chains are reducing accidents and other losses, while reaping savings on insurance costs. On days when rain or snow is forecast for the Texas panhandle region, the managers of all 66 Toot ‘n Totum convenience stores receive early-morning e-mails reminding them to put out “wet floor” signs, mop

image is everything

There are few things I enjoy more than hitting the road to watch retailers in action. That's why I was particularly pleased by Chevron's invitation to spend a few days at company headquarters in lovely San Ramon, Calif., to learn all about its 2006 Image Refresh program. The operations team, Shariq Yosufzai, president of Chevron

understanding the petroleum market

Opportunities exist to capture fuel acquisition cost-savings, but do you know what they are? By Brian L. Milne, Contributing Editor Downstream fuel buyers face unprecedentedchallenges in high levels of priceand supply volatility with their fuel buying Opportunities to capture acquisition cost-savings and maximize profit can be lost seconds in up-and-down markets. More than ever, the

chevron gets fresh

New imaging program transforms the forecourt with a colorful array of bright lights and warm, friendly graphics. Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until they can’t get it wrong. It’s this philosophy that is driving Chevron to display its professional prowess as it prepares for the nationwide rollout of its Image Refresh

grabandgo dollars

From small operators with space and labor limitations to larger chains with food at the forefront, the grab-and-go segment has these retailers turning tasty profits. Food has always been a cornerstone of the overall offering at Casey’s General Stores. The made-fromscratch pizza program has become the calling card across its 1,423 stores, which has evolved

whats selling a view from the customers part ii

CSD conducts exit polls and consumer surveys at the point of sale to find out what customers want when it comes to bottled water. Retailers concerned about slow sales growth or stagnant fuel margins can expect a boost from bottled water as analysts and consumers alike expect water sales to continue flowing for at least

electricity name your price

Between lighting, refrigeration and heating and air conditioning, retailersuse an average of 62 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year, accordingto the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coupled with the skyrocketingprice of natural gas and historically high summer demands, electric costs takean even larger bite of c-store owners’ operational costs. Most chains have already implemented the

fuel discounts simply irresistible

Loyalty programs are cultivating a new breed of price-conscious consumers. As long as gasoline prices remain high, consumers will be attracted to fuel discounts. That’s the common sense that led retailers to create customer loyalty programs in which fuel discounts are the prize, instead of the more customary prizes like airline travel or cash back.

grassroots marketing for convenience retailers

Local marketing programs can boost store traffic without adding any operational costs. One of the most overlooked promotional opportunities for convenience retailersis a well-planned grassroots marketing program. It’s easy to get excited abouta new trade area in the early stages of your grand opening, but it’s anotherthing to instill this excitement some two years later.

wawa focused on the future

Known for its fresh food and friendly service, the Pennsylvania chain is fast becoming a top fuel marketer in the mid-Atlantic. Though a regional operator with 556 sites in five mid-Atlantic states, Wawa’s reputation as a top operator spreads from coast to coast. The stores are noted for their freshly prepared hoagies, coffee, competitively priced

retailers embrace floridas generator law

Hurricane havoc forces mandate for backup power at gas stations, and other states may adopt similar legislation. By Joe Bahnatka, Contributing Editor After a hurricane sweeps across Florida, the state wants to keep gas pumps as busy as a department store on Black Friday. Keeping nozzles in gas tanks, however, requires electricity, which often times

playmaker

Mark Redding may have had to say goodbye to his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player, but he's been a playmaker in the convenience channel for years now. He got his first taste of the industry when he accepted a position as a route merchandiser for McLane Grocery Distributors in 1983. From there, Redding

publix sabor instores uncover broad audience

Competitive Watch: Publix Super Markets’ new store format is targeted to Hispanics, but its bakeries’ top quality products and extensive selection bring fans from beyond their niche. By narrowing its focus, Publix Super Markets (Lakeland, Fla.) found its demandactually grew. Its new Hispanic format, Publix Sabor, demonstrates that consumerpreference for fresh, quality foods, particularly in

prepaids push profits

Card Revenues Soar Looking for a way to drive fuel sales and up your overall profits? Recent research reveals that making transactions more convenient by offering and accepting a variety of prepaid cards is the way to go. Prepaid cards, also known as stored-value cards, clearly increase business, especially if the cards are reloadable. A

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