Archives for March 2009

Kentucky Flame Out

The Louisville, Ky., Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee unanimously passed an ordinance this week that bans the sale of lighters that “are not readily identifiable as lighters.” Fire officials say they are often picked up by children. The ordinance will go before the full council at next week’s meeting and will be on the consent

Stamp of Approval

Tesoro Hawaii convenience stores soon will offer postage stamps at face value. Tesoro has enrolled 30 of its 2Go convenience stores on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island in the U.S. Postal Service’s “Stamps to Go” program that allows Tesoro to buy stamps at face value and then requires them to sell that postage for

Off to the Races

Bristol Motor Speedway officials today announced an agreement with Fas Mart Convenience Stores naming the company as a new partner during major event weekends. NASCAR fans in town for races and the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals will be able to find Fas Mart convenience items without having to leave the BMS campgrounds. “Fas Mart is

Mark VII Launches Two New In-Bay Automatics

Mark VII Equipment Inc. announced its next generation of rollover carwash systems, the SoftWash XT and AquaJet XT. Each system leverages the best features of its predecessor while adding unique new features that drive incremental revenue, lower operating costs, increase customer satisfaction and reduce consumption of precious resources. Both have been redesigned from the ground

Fuel Trending Upward

By Brian Milne, Refined Fuels Editor, DTN After making a U-turn and moving down more than a nickel in late February, the U.S. average price for regular grade gasoline at retail outlets will again increase, pushed up by sharp gains in the wholesale market. The wholesale markets remain extremely volatile, and we could see wholesale

F.A.B. Leaps into Foodservice

F.A.B. Inc. (Frosty Acres Brands), the national foodservice purchasing cooperative for independent distributors, is stepping up its focus on fresh foods with the launch of the Up for Grabs foodservice program. The Up for Grabs program offers distributors an exclusive brand designed for the convenience channel. With a variety of premium products, specialized merchandising systems,

ShortStop Enhances Financial Services

ShortStop, a ConocoPhillips branded convenience store chain in Boulder, Colo., is expanding its current mobile gift program to include Mocapay’s mobile loyalty solution after a successful three-month mobile gift trial. ShortStop, a four-store chain that has served the Boulder community for more than 30 years, expects to launch its mobile loyalty program in the second

SCHIP Federal Tax Increase Update

The federal cigarette and tobacco tax increases signed into law in early February by President Obama will take effect on April 1, 2009. With the tax increases less than one month away, tobacco retailers should review the list of recommendations below to help prepare for these tax increases: 1. To minimize the floor stocks tax, retailers

Chevron Names John Watson Vice Chairman

Chevron Corp. said Vice Chairman Peter J. Robertson will retire from the company and its board after more than 35 years of service at the San Ramon, Calif. oil company. Robertson will be succeeded by John Watson, currently executive vice president of strategy and development. The company also named Charles A. James, currently vice president

Prepared Foods

TOP PERFORMERS Sara Lee Foodservice Oscar Meyer (Kraft Foods Inc.) Ruiz Foods Inc. HONORABLE MENTIONS Don Miguel Mexican Foods Inc. Stouffer’s (Nestle) Old-time retailers tell it this way: Some years ago, convenience customers were more willing to give up a little something on quality—in the way of food, at least—if it meant they’d get something

Budgets Tightened, Jobs Squeezed

As retailers big and small continue shedding jobs amid economic troubles, some convenience and petroleum brands bleed a little, some bleed a lot.  The industry is taking its share of hits in this economic tsunami, but if there’s any consolation, it’s this: Their wounds aren’t nearly as deep as those suffered in other retail channels.

Retaining Talent For The Future

The best thing about the economy being such a dog? Employers get the pick of the litter when it comes to job candidates. Worcester, Mass.-based Honey Farms Mini-Market landed an expert last month when it hired retail veteran Lisa Clement to oversee nine Honey Farm stores in the Worcester and Middlesex county markets. Just weeks

Service Reigns Supreme

There is no greater ally for convenience store owners than their supplier partners. When retailers boost sales and satisfy their customers, everyone in the supply chain benefits. When Convenience Store Decisions launched its Reader’s Choice Awards four years ago, our premise was simple: To find out just who retailers identified as their top supplier partners.

What’s Your Solution?

SKU SLEUTH … Rick Cosmer, vice president of retail sales and operations at Mansfield Oil Co. in Georgia, has found cutting-edge back-office systems can offer huge payoffs in terms of data analysis and sales tracking. Cosmer said the most powerful piece of his system allows him to drill down J.D. to individual products to determine

Car Wash & Equipment

TOP PERFORMERS Mark VII Equipment Inc. Ryko Manufacturing PDQ Manufacturing Inc. HONORABLE MENTIONS Ecolab Inc. Autec Inc. If your car wash is poorly maintained or functioning improperly, it’ll be dead in the water in no time.   “First of all, make sure that the car wash itself is functioning and in good shape,” said Mark

Soft Drinks

TOP PERFORMERS Pepsi Coca-Cola Mountain Dew (PepsiCo) HONORABLE MENTIONS Dr Pepper (Dr Pepper Snapple Group) Sprite (Coca-Cola Co.) Carbonated soft drink sales may be slowing a bit, but they still dominate convenience store coolers. Chalk it up to brand-loyal buyers or market saturation, but one thing is certain: This is a packaged beverage segment retailers

Juices And Teas

TOP PERFORMERS Lipton (PepsiCo) Tropicana (PepsiCo) Minute Maid (Coca-Cola Co.) HONORABLE MENTIONS AriZona Beverage Co. SoBe (PepsiCo) While innovation is a valued component to every category, the juices and teas segment of packaged beverages seems to be particularly prone to new twists and creative concepts. Largely in response to consumers looking for more functionality and

Dispensed Beverages: Hot

TOP PERFORMERS S&D Coffee Boyd Coffee Folgers (J.M. Smucker Co.) HONORABLE MENTIONS Sara Lee Foodservice Ronnoco Coffee Co. If you haven’t figured it out by now, most customers aren’t going to be happy with a one-pot coffee program bookended by a cup of sugar and a bowl of curdled creamer.  They could get that at

Fully Prepared Hot & Cold Sandwiches

TOP PERFORMERS Deli Express (E. A. Sween Co.) Landshire Inc. Pierre Foods HONORABLE MENTIONS Jimmy Dean (Sara Lee Foodservice) Lettieri’s (Hot Stuff Foods) Proprietary foodservice programs get a lot of love and admiration for their relentless innovation and ingenuity, and even branded fast-food concepts tend to get their share of attention from convenience operators who

Chicken

TOP PERFORMERS Tyson Foods Inc. Chester’s International The Broaster Co. HONORABLE MENTIONS Krispy Krunchy Chicken Squawkers (Brakebush Brothers) For such a little creature, chicken certainly knows how to command a formidable presence on foodservice menus.  To fully grasp this indefatigable bird’s share of American stomachs, look no further than this: Each U.S. consumer gobbled up

Branded Fast Food

TOP PERFORMERS Subway Subs & Salads McDonald’s Corp. Dunkin’ Brands HONORABLE MENTIONS Blimpie Dairy Queen Nothing draws a customer like credibility, and name brands come with credibility built in. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in foodservice.  Just ask John Cary, director of operations at the 38-unit Uppy’s chain in Virginia. “If we have

Pizza

TOP PERFORMERS Hunt Brothers Pizza Freschetta (Schwan’s) Hot Stuff Foods HONORABLE MENTIONS Piccadilly Circus Pizza Red Baron (Schwan’s) With menus that are customizable to a broad array of tastes and budgets, pizza programs have long been a go-to solution for convenience retailers who want foodservice solutions that deliver immediately profitable models, not to mention proven

Meat Snacks / Jerky

TOP PERFORMERS Jack Links Beef Jerky Slim Jim (ConAgra Foods Inc.) Pemmican (ConAgra Foods Inc.) HONORABLE MENTIONS Gardetto’s (General Mills) Keebler (Kellogg Co.) Accounting for $836 million in sales at convenience stores last year, meat snacks seem to be a category tailor-made for convenience consumers. Jerky is a quintessential impulse item that appeals greatly to

Packaged Healthy Snacks

TOP PERFORMERS Chex Mix (General Mills) Planters Trail Mix/Sunflower Seeds (Kraft Foods Inc.) Kellogg’s Special K Nutra Grain Bar HONORABLE MENTIONS Gardetto’s (General Mills) Keebler (Kellogg Co.) While some retailers are still debating whether they should add healthy snacks to their product mix, others are creating entire programs based on healthier concepts. Entire brands, in

Bakery

TOP PERFORMERS Sara Lee Foodservice Bon Appetite Prairie City Bakery HONORABLE MENTIONS Rich Products Mrs. Freshley’s Convenience retailers across the board are rolling out innovative approaches to boost their foodservice sales, and many are looking to the trusted breakfast daypart as a proving grounds for new ideas to lure new customers. This means plenty of