Archives for September 2009

Flying J Truck Repair Shops Acquired

  Flying J, the struggling travel center corporation that recently merged with PilotTravel Centers LLC of Knoxville, Tenn., as part of its framework for emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is selling its truck repair shops, the Post-Tribune reported.   Bosselman Boss Shops of Grand Island, Neb., has acquired the 15 J Care Service Centers, a

R.J. Reynolds Joins Others in Challenging Provisions of FDA Tobacco Act

  R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company joined Commonwealth Brands Inc., Lorillard Inc., National Tobacco Company L.P. and Discount Tobacco City & Lottery Inc. in filing a lawsuit Monday to protect their First Amendment right to communicate with adult tobacco consumers about their products, Reuters reported.   The suit was filed in federal court in Bowling Green, Ky.,

Competition Brews for Beer Sales

Convenience stores across the country are facing burgeoning competition on beer and wine sales from drug store giant Walgreens, which is branching back into the adult beverages category. Walgreens is adding beer sales due to “a direct response to consumer demand,” said Robert Elfinger, spokesperson for the Deerfield, Ill. drug store chain. It plans to

Driving Cooler Sales

The economy, the environment and the weather. All three are impacting the sale of bottled water this year. From 1997 until 2007, consumers were thirsty for bottles of clear, refreshing water. Between 2003 and 2008, bottled water sales grew 59% to $5.1 billion, making it one of the fastest-growing drinks on the market. Consumers believed

Creating Supply Chain Efficiencies

Getting products to stores more efficiently is now a major focus for all major retailers and distributors. Better distribution means lower costs and higher margins—both items high on c-store owners’ agendas these days—when customers are clutching their wallets more tightly than they have in years. “There are two ways to make money: increase prices or

Fabulous Freddy’s Fuels with Flair

Fabulous Freddy’s is wooing new customers with old tricks. Resurrecting the customer service of decades past, the seven-store chain headquartered in Las Vegas, offers its patrons full-service treatment at the pump, at self-service prices. “Our company’s mission statement is to provide fabulous service to everyone, and one of the ways we do that is to

All-in-One BBQ and Disposable Instant Grill

P&M Products last month introduced the EZ Grill, an earth-friendly, portable grill that is 100% recyclable and comes complete with foil pan, grill grate, stand and charcoal. The instant charcoal is 100% natural with no additives, chemicals or fillers. The grill lights with one match and cooks for up to 1½ hours. Plus it’s mess-free.

Hands free water and ice dispenser

Hoshizaki America Inc. offers new hands-free water and ice dispenser models DT-400-AR and DT-400BAH-OS. The former features a drop-in replacement refrigeration circuit, ease of serviceability for maintaining ice making/dispensing operation and simple disconnects for removal and installation. DT-400BAH-OS features a self-contained space saving design (21w x 22.5d x72.5h with 6-inch legs) and front in and

Deter Hawks With Decoy

Bird-B-Gone Inc. introduces the Bird-B-Gone Hawk, a life-like Red Tailed Hawk decoy. The Bird-B-Gone Hawk can be used to scare pest birds away from balconies, gardens, fruit trees, buildings and other areas where birds or rodents have become a problem. Birds will avoid areas treated with the decoy and move on to a more secure

Cheese Jerky

Snack Patrol LLC has developed a new snack, called Cheese Jerky, that combines shredded beef jerky with string cheese. This new product, which is already available in stores across the U.S., offers a previously impossible variation of string cheese. To make this snack, premium beef jerky is shredded, then added to Wisconsin farmstead string cheese.

Marketing the Menu

The bar has been raised on sandwiches—indeed, on all freshly made to-go dishes—as consumers’ expectations continue to rise and new competitors from outside the c-store universe appear on the horizon. Convenience stores are finding themselves more and more in conflict with players from the fast-food and grocery stores seeking the same “fare” share. With that

Chicken’s Popularity Continues to Grow

Chicken’s economical price and inherent flexibility gives convenience store retailers a myriad of opportunities for growing their foodservice business without sacrificing quality and value. However, deciding whether your stores’ best interests are better served by a branded or proprietary chicken program requires an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks each model offers, said consultant John

Customers Indulging in Chocolate

The Benefits of Chocolate Once considered a “guilty pleasure,” researchers now say that chocolate offers health benefits—when consumed in moderation and provided the chocolate is the right kind. International experiments show that dark chocolate has an impressive array of activities, according to the Harvard Health Newsletter. It’s an antioxidant that may improve cholesterol scores and

Strong Outlook for Meat Snacks

Meat snacks—beef jerky, meat sticks, pork rinds and more—are right at home at U.S. convenience stores. And, despite the rough economy and some sales slippage, new products and popular brands continue to excite customers. Paul Lyons, president and owner of Up North Jerky in Troy, Mich., and a partner, with Sam Kassem and Mike Abdullah,

NAG: Back by Popular Demand

When we purchased CONVENIENCE STORE DECISIONS nearly two years ago, we heard a constantly recurring question: “When are you going to revitalize the National Advisory Group (NAG)?” With the acquisition we had a lot on our plate, but we were always looking at NAG. We examined carefully why NAG withered, and what was the proper

Keck Oil Does Sandwiches the Rite Way

For most c-store chains, it goes without saying that foodservice must play an integral part in driving traffic and helping maintain sales at a time when gas and cigarette revenues are down. But with so many possibilities to consider, from adding a Dunkin’ Donuts to developing a stir fry offering, deciding which foodservice program will

Make Coffee More Profitable

Tips for Preparing the Perfect Cup • Always use fresh, filtered water. • Always use fresh, whole bean coffee. Coffee is perishable: use within two weeks of roast date. • Store coffee beans in an air-tight container away from heat, light and moisture. No freezer or refrigerator. • Grind just before brewing—a timer will help

Customer Relations Expert

Ralin Nespeca, the customer contact center manager for Oklahoma City-based Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, learned the value of customer service and an unwavering work ethic at a very young age. Those skills have proved to be a valuable asset on her career path. She joined Love’s in December 2008 as the call center

Sonja Hubbard Paves the Way for Women in Retailing

As CEO of Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart Stores Inc., which operates more than 300 stores in five states, Sonja Hubbard is a true c-store industry veteran. Hubbard was just a child when her father, Jim Yates founded E-Z Mart in 1970 and learned the ropes at an early age. “I grew up with this industry

MAPCO Express Rolls On

While many chains are still feeling the crunch from the current economic recession, others are seeing opportunity. Count MAPCO Express among the companies waiting to pounce. MAPCO Express, a subsidiary of Delek US Holdings, has a long history in convenience retailing. It continues rolling out an upscale convenience store concept, branded MAPCO Mart, and is

Wind Resistant Lighters

Built upon a long term relationship, Scripto, America’s first and most trusted brand of utility lighters, and Anheuser-Busch, a dominating industry leader, team up once again to continue their success in the Utility Lighter category by announcing the release of the new Anheuser-Busch Utility Lighter Collection. The Budweiser and Bud Light Wind Resistant Outdoor Utility

5-Hour Energy Introduces Grape Flavor

Sitting atop the growing liquid energy shot category by a substantial margin, 5-Hour Energy seeks to continue its category dominance with the introduction of its newest flavor, Grape, in late September. Founded in 2004, 5-Hour Energy is a 2-ounce energy shot that provides hours of energy with no crash or jitters through a blend of

Low-calorie Vitamin Water

In response to consumers’ thirst for more great-tasting, low-calorie hydration, Glacéau vitaminwater10 will introduce four brand-new varieties on Aug. 17. Currently available in New York City and southern California, the low-calorie game-changer will flood stores nationwide next month. The four new varieties are go-go (mixed berry), mega-c (grape raspberry), revitalize (green tea) and recoup (peach-mandarin).

New Time Delay Ink Labels

SafeTScribe Technologies has developed a new line of time delay sensitized ink labels that can be programmed to change over specific periods of time, ranging from two hours to 200 days. SafeTScribe’s TimeMarks can be used to accurately manage the freshness of products on retail shelves to ensure inventory rotation and proper handling in the

Three New Flavors

Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. Inc., a leading manufacturer and distributor of quality confectionery and gum products is introducing three new flavors to its Now and Later SOFT Nine-Piece Changemakers line. The flavors are Soft Banana, Soft Cherry and Soft Watermelon. The nine-piece bar comes packed 24 in a tray and has 12 trays per