Growing the Business Together

On November 29th of this year, one of the most exciting moments of my publishing career occurred when we, Harbor Communications, closed on the purchase of Convenience Store Decisions from Penton Media. It was quick, exhilarating, and I am thrilled to now be the owner of such a groundbreaking, long-running publication serving this vital market.

Convenience Store Decisions was on our radar for quite some time. It is the ideal conjunction of my publishing experience as the former publisher of Penton’s Food Management Group, with the c-store industry’s increasing focus on upscale convenience foods. In many ways, CSD is coming home as it joins our company. My partners, Bill Donohue and Dan Ramella, both have extensive convenience retailing industry knowledge.

Bill, whom the industry knows as the man who launched CSD in 1990, before selling it to Penton Media in 1998, has unsurpassed knowledge and experience in the industry. Bill’s return to the market will help CSD stay on the cutting edge of the market’s needs and trends as we collectively deal with all of the changes that are coming.

Dan is the president of Harbor Communications and the former president and chief operating officer of Penton Media. In fact, he was instrumental in the original purchase of CSD in 1998 from Donohue-Meehan Publishing. Dan joked that this is now the second time he has purchased CSD.  He is also the former publisher of Penton’s Restaurant Hospitality and is largely credited with transforming that magazine into the leading publication in the restaurant industry.

I’m also happy to report that John Lofstock will continue as Editor-in-Chief and will serve as Group Editorial Director for the Convenience Store Decisions Group. John’s 13 years of experience and passion for the market will maintain a seamless transition between readers and the new owners.

Looking Forward
Our commitment to you is to utilize our experience to elevate the magazine’s ability to bring this market the very best news and information anywhere–in print, online and in person. We are committed to making the investments, both personally and financially to make CSD the leading magazine in this industry.

Over the next few months I intend to spend the majority of my time traveling around the country meeting with retailers and suppliers alike to affirm our commitment to the marketplace. We will also continue with our numerous company-owned events, such as the Convenience Store Foodservice Conference, the Convenience Store Chain of the Year award, the Online Roundtable Series and revitalizing the National Convenience Store Advisory Group (NCSAG).

I firmly believe in cultivating relationships by working closely with the supplier community to grow the business for our mutual benefit. The convenience retailing industry is a very complex and competitive industry, and retailers have very specific needs when it comes to successfully competing against drugs stores, hypermarts and other growing retail segments. My biggest priority over the next few months is to hear from the industry how we can assist them and facilitate more retailer-supplier dialogue.

With the New Year, there are numerous trends worth watching and many important sales messages that need to be communicated to retailers. For example, sales of energy drinks, bottled water and isotonics continue to surpass expectations. Other tobacco is also growing at a good clip. Cigars and moist smokeless sales have been boosted by new products and flavors. Convenience Store Decisions is the magazine to read to stay up-to-date on these important categories and many others throughout 2008.

Harbor Communications is committed to providing you, our readers, with the most relevant and useful content available and for delivering it in the medium of your choice—in-print, in-person and online. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly anytime (office: 440-250-1583; cell: 216-533-9186; email: tmcintyre@csdecisions.com). I look forward to meeting you and from all of us at Harbor Communications we hope you have a Happy New Year!

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