controlling operations costs

Kwik Trip is maximizing efficiency by combining business intelligence with energy intelligence. Kwik Trip is maximizing efficiency by combining business intelligence with energy intelligence. By Mark Kortkamp, Contributing Editor Kwik Trip Inc. was chosen "Chain of the Year" in 2004 by Convenience Store Decisions largely because people are the heart of their company, and technology

a gift for all seasons

Convenience retailers are building incremental sales with “gift card mall” selections from a host of local and national retail chains. Convenience retailers are building incremental sales with "gift card mall" selections from a host of local and national retail chains. By John Lofstock, Editor Convenience and grocery executives are desperately looking for new growth drivers.

treats of the trade

When retailers keep a watchful eye on products and utilize their vendor relationships, candy can produce some dandy results. When retailers keep a watchful eye on products and utilize their vendor relationships, candy can produce some dandy results. By Kate Quackenbush, Managing Editor An entire country may separate Kentucky-based Red Hed Oil Co. and Washington-based

paradise found

How FireKing Security’s Image Vault DVR helped Minit Stop stores alleviate the weight of internal shrink and fines from underage sales stings. By Kate Quackenbush, Managing Editor For retailers facing sub-zero winters and summers that aren’t much warmer, it’s hard to sympathize with the plight of a Hawaii-based chain that wakes up every day to

6 questions to ask yourself before your next hire

By Mel Kleiman, CSP Just as you should consistently ask applicants questions that get you all the information need, so should you question yourself every time you consider hiring a new employee. These six questions will help glean valuable company information and ultimately save time and money. 1. Can we do this job differently or

how to become a local hero

When disaster strikes, every one of us has the opportunity to act heroically. When disaster strikes, every one of us has the opportunity to act heroically. By Mel Kleiman, CSP Remember the old comedy/Western “Support Your Local Sheriff?” James Garner starred as Jason McCullough, a guy who runs out of money on his way to

pitching in

Retailers, suppliers and distributors by the dozens stepped up to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. Nearly 10 months later, many continue to help. By Ross Markman, Retail Relations Editor Hurricane Katrina may have struck New Orleans and the nearby Gulf Coast region, but there's no doubt that the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history rippled

clutch player

By Kate Quackenbush, Managing Editor Mike Leake may have had eight years of experience servicing convenience stores while working for Frito Lay and then McLane Grocery Distribution as a DSD sales representative, but it wasn't until DesMoines, Wash.-based Emanuel Inc. recruited him that he found a truly unique operation. Leake met owner Sami Said while

in brief

Chevron Invests in Biodiesel FacilityChevron Corp., which operates 2,800 convenience stores, has invested through a subsidiary, Chevron Technology Ventures LLC (CTV), in a Houston-based company that is building one of the first large-scale biodiesel plants in the U.S. The facility will have the potential to produce 100 million gallons per year of this clean-burning renewable

convenience driving natural foods resurgence

Cross-channel marketers report strong sales gains in organic, bottled water segments. By Laurie Budgar, Contributing Editor Everything old is new again. Some long established categories in natural foods are growing at rates usually reserved for products that are just starting to get distribution. Produce does the natural foods industry particularly proud this year. Even though

technically speaking

Scott Hartman, president of Rutter's Farm Stores, said the relationship between retailers and suppliers is integral to the implementation of new technologies. By Ross Markman, Retail Relations Editor Nearly 40 years after York, Pa.-based Rutter's Farm Stores opened its first unit, the chain's current president plays as big a role as anyone in the convenience

the cleanup continues

 By John Lofstock  When the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) released its State of the Industry report in April, we learned the state of the industry is good. Sales are up, profits are up and operating costs are down. But this hardly tells the whole story. Almost a year after hurricanes Katrina and Rita

shelter from the storm

The convenience store industry was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, and many retailers are still recovering from the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Hurricane Katrina caused nearly $1 million in damages to a dozen Danny & Clyde’s convenience stores owned by Donna Cyprowski and Chris Rittiner, who took the chain’s reins from their fathers.

tesco prepares for its us invasion

With the development of a new convenience store format to be unveiled in California early next year, UK retailers and analysts say marketers should prepare for Wal-Mart, Part II. By Andrew Don Not since The Beatles has a British invasion been so eagerly anticipated. But UK market observers warn that Tesco’s reputation as a bigger,

rollin right along

The roller grill has spun itself into the spotlight at Fas Mart and Pump N Pantry, delivering nice returns to the bottom line. By Kate Quackenbush, Managing Editor Pump N Pantry hasn’t been afraid to try new items to spice up the roller grill. Not all of them have turned a profit. Take, for instance,

category captain

banking on loyalty

Data mining and basket analysis is giving retailers an edge when going to market, while strategic partnerships keep costs down. By Kate Quackenbush, Managing Editor They have a saying at Mirabito Fuel Group: “When you attract customers with cheap gas prices, you only buy their loyalty until the next gas fill-up.” That’s the kind of

broadening its range

Road Ranger, a chain of 50 c-stores and travel plazas, expects to nearly double in size by year’s end. By Ross Markman, Retail Relations Editor This promises to be a busy year for Road Ranger. Following an expansion two years ago from about 30 convenience stores and travel centers to 50, the Rockford, Ill.-based chain

food for thought

By Ross Markman Retail Relations Editor Highlighted by a theme dinner that mimicked the Food Network’s popular Iron Chef television program, the National Convenience Store Advisory Group (NCSAG) foodservice conference was a success, particularly for the more than 300 retailers and suppliers in attendance. The three-day event, held in Atlanta, was the first NCSAG show

industry sales hit new highs in 2005

Higher fuel prices, strong in-store sales spur record growth. By John Lofstock, Editor Convenience store sales climbed 20.2% to reach a record $474.3 billion in 2005, the third straight year of revenue growth of at least 16%, according to National Association of Convenience Stores’ State of the Industry (SOI) report. The results were announced last

caring for cars in vegas

Thousands of carwash operators, equipment manufacturers and vendors filled the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center to “clean up.” By Ross Markman, Retail Relations Editor Cruising the show floor at the annual Car Care Expo in Las Vegas, dozens of current and would-be carwash operators perused new products that caught their eye, considered the future of

the changing taste of beer

Grappling with consumers’ growing interest in wine and spirits, major beer manufacturers are turning to new tastes and flavors—and, in some places, it’s working. By Ross Markman Retail Relations Editor Forget for a moment about the rising tide of wine and spirit sales and that traditional beer companies in recent years have introduced everything from

lottery controversy stuns iowa retailers

Operators have lost a major profit center now that the governor has banned the popular TouchPlay machines. By Ross Markman, Retail Relations Editor Eight miles from the tiny town of Larchwood, Iowa (pop. 788), Fran Zuraff faces a major competitor for customer dollars—South Dakota. Competition wasn’t quite as stiff until recent months, when Zuraff and

managing fuel operations

Circle K and Worsley roll out innovative programs to streamline costs and boost profitability. By John Lofstock, Editor With fuel prices soaring to record highs, marketers are desperately looking for software solutions that can help them manage the business more effectively. On the fuel supply side, tighter control of distribution could enhance margins and increase

decisionmakers

RetailerSpotlightAndrea Jackson, president and COO of Jacksons Food Stores, was chosen by Idaho Business Review as one of Idaho's "Women of the Year." She was honored because of her professional accomplishments, willingness to serve in volunteer organizations and to mentor other women. Jackson has risen from clerk to president and COO of Jacksons Food Stores,

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