Archives for 2006

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

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

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

valero named convenience store decisions chain of the year

San Antonio-based marketer to be honored at an awards reception Oct. 9 in Las Vegas. Continuing a tradition it began in1990, Convenience Store Decisionsis proud to announce Valero EnergyCorp., as its 2006 Convenience StoreChain of Year. Valero, which will be honored at aawards reception Oct. 9 in Las Vegas during the National Association ofConvenience Stores

The 5 firsts of hourly employee retention

With the labor pool shrinking sources of new hourly recruits are drying up. First impressions are lasting. Newly hired, hourly employees are not. Before they’ve been on the job just six months, more than 50% are gone. Some were probably not a good fit for the job in the first place, but some productive, dependable,

cashing in

Putting flow first fuels success. In a fiercely competitive world where declining fuelmargins are forcing companies to find new ways toincrease the bottom line, can small and mid-sizedconvenience store chains stay ahead of the game? According to Jeff Morris, president and CEO of Alon USA, theycan—provided they manage cash and credit wisely, make a pointof

pick a card any card

Jupiter Research claims that 75% of consumers are card-carrying members of one loyalty program or another. It seems like you can’t buy anything now without bumping into anoffer to join some type of consumer loyalty club. Retailers havelong adopted loyalty programs as a method of getting more salesout of their customers. Whether they “live” offline

unlimited potential

By Kate Quackenbush, Managing Editor While everyone talks a big game about livingand eating healthier, Don Hamberger knowsthat consumers still love to treat themselves.Candy represents the fourth most profitablecategory at La Platta, Md.-based Dash In Food Stores, behindcigarettes, foodservice and coffee. Confections are up 3.5%from last year, on top of 6% the year before, and

sheetz continues reinventing convenience

First to market in Pennsylvania with the convenience restaurant and E-85 fuel, the chain predicts strong growth in the coming years. When it comes to delivering quality and value,few chains are as highly regarded as SheetzInc. The Altoona, Pa.-based chain has longbeen admired for its superiority in innovationand its diligent commitment to consumer satisfaction. It’s

one family many owners

Experts are warning that fuel prices are likely toremain high until January 2007 as demand for petroleum products soars due to market shortages causedby the damaged pipelines out of BP

smoke signals

Besieged by taxes and a decline in gross profit margins, there are signs that import and specialty brands could be the key to tobacco profitability. Though there have been calls by industry expertsfor convenience store companies to reduce their dependencyon cigarettes, the industry overall is becoming more reliant ontobacco sales. The National Association of Convenience

target customer with knowledge of trends

Understanding health and wellness developments can increase sales. The health and wellness landscape has been undergoing some major changes over the past several years, spurred by various factors, including scientific discoveries, nutrient breakthroughs, changing lifestyles and demographics, rising obesity, desire for wellness personalization and demand for corporate social responsibility. All of these transformations can make

focus on food safety

Just two years after the devastating tomato outbreak at Sheetz, other retailers have benefited from the hard lesson. Any convenience retailer heavily invested in foodservice has to admit their heart dropped when wordspread about the tomato epidemic at Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz Inc. A salmonella-tainted shipment of tomatoesled to 400 people getting sick in July 2004,

whats selling a view from the customers

CSD conducts customer surveys on isotonics and energy drinks in markets across the U.S. The growth of bottled waterhas been well documented, butdata shows energy drinks and isotonics are growing at comparable oreven faster rates. What’s even moreimpressive is that all three of these categories have wide-ranging appeal thatcross gender lines and attract customersof all

beers back

Study signals strong 2007 Super Bowl sales. The primacy of beer—temporarily lost when Gallup’s2005 poll of alcohol sales and drinking habits showedwine sales ahead of beer for the first time—has beenrestored. The 2006 Gallup poll, released in late July, showedthat brew is back as the top alcoholic beverage in both volume and dollar sales. Forty-one

Wawa turns to Merrychef

With its focus on meeting the demand for quick, quality foodservice solutions, the Pennsylvania retailer enlisted the help of Merrychef’s accelerated cooking ovens. Being one of the top foodservice providers in the convenience store industry requires more than a commitment from foodservice managers and store personnel. It demands vision, innovation and, perhaps most importantly, the

display cases run hotcold

A great display of food will stop customers in their tracks. Here’s what you need to know to buy merchandising equipment that will make your food look irresistible. Not too long ago, food-merchandising equipment was limited to a few grocery store-type cases from only a few manufacturers. Today, there is a wide range of quality

Cooking at the speed of light

A new breed of supercookers promise to cook food faster than you ever imagined. Here’s what you need to know to buy a unit. When you hear the term “fast food,” most don’t think of fresh, elaborate food that’s prepared quickly. But that’s changing. Manufacturers have recently developed and continue to refine equipment for high

family affair

Just two months after Convenience Store Decisions was first to announce details of Tesco's foray into the U.S. market, we were able to get an exclusive tour of FamilyMart's operations in Southern California with Shiro (Sho) Inoue, president and CEO of Famima Corp., the Japanese retailer's U.S. subsidiary. Inoue's candid interview, part of our "2006

faceoff

Fuel Hedging: Aggressive or Moderate? Face-off is a regular feature in Convenience Store Decisions that gives retailers, suppliers and consultants an opportunity to debate the issues affecting the convenience store and petroleum industry. Have an idea for Face-off? Contact John Lofstock at 201-845-2468 or via email at jlofstock@penton.com. Aggressive:Philip J. Baratz, C.T.A.President, Angus Energy Inc.

from bubba to betty

For a channel centered around serving blue-collar, 18- to 35-year-old men, how can it evolve to attract the finer sex while not alienating its existing customers? It’s no secret that women are a mystery. Ask any man who has ever tried to figure out how to attract a woman or make her happy. Many thought

cigar sales smoking

Retailers report strong sales and profits in OTP boosted by cigars. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores’ 2006 State of the Industry (SOI) report, retailers can expect the other tobacco (OTP) category to keep on growing with flavored cigars driving that growth. Cigar sales last year jumped 5.2% and accounted for 30.48% of

valero finds cool comfort in follett valero finds cool comfort in follett

Valero found a solution for its stores ice situations while uncovering an invaluable tool for relieving hurricane stricken refineries It would have been hard to predict how fortuitous the meeting of Valero Energy Corp. and Follett Inc. would be after the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) conference in New Orleans a few

welcome to the neighborhood

Canastota, N.Y.-based Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes knows how to make an entrance. Just before it opened its Taft Road location—the 85th store in the chain and the fifth ground-up location with the new store design introduced more than a year ago—store personnel visited about 125 local businesses with “welcome baskets.” “We got a list

count on curtis

Wilbur Curtis blends technology with simplicity in its G3 Concept Series Primo Cappuccino machine. With fuel prices soaring and instore margins shrinking, hot beverages have emerged as one of the most profitable sections in the convenience store. With a price point usually not much more than a regular cup of coffee, cappuccino sales are helping